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Full text of "Ernest Maltravers"



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Published by George Routledge and Sons. 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 



Bt 



THE RIGHT HON. LORD LYTTON 



6APPQ TO AIOIKOYNTI. 

M. Aktoctn, lib. vi. sec. 8. 



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A WORD TO THE READER. 

REFIXED TO THE FIRST EDITION OF 1837. 



Tuou must not, my old and partial friend, look into thia 
work for that species of interest which is drawn from stirring 
adventures and a perpetual variety of incident. To a Novel 
of the present day are necessarily forbidden the animation, 
the excitement, the bustle, the pomp, and the stage-effect 
which History affords to Romance. Whatever merits, in 
thy gentle eyes, " Bienzi," or " The Last Days of Pompeii," 
may have possessed, this Tale, if it please thee at all, must 
owe that happy fortune to qualities widely different from 
those which won thy favour to pictures of the Past. Thou 
must sober down thine imagination, and prepare thyself for 
a story not dedicated to the narrative of extraordinary events 
— nor the elucidation of the characters of great men. Though 
there is scarcely a page in this work episodical to the main 
design, there may be much that may seem to thee wearisome 
and prolix, if thou wilt not lend thyself, in a kindly spirit, 
and with a generous trust, to the guidance of the Author. 
In the hero of this tale thou wilt find neither a majestic 
demigod, nor a fascinating demon. He is a man with the 
weaknesses derived from humanity, with the strength that 
we inherit from the soul ; not often obstiuate in error, more 
often irresolute in virtue ; sometimes too aspiring, sometimes 
too despondent ; influenced by the circumstances to which 



XV A WOKD TO THE KEADEK. 

hs yet struggles to be superior, and changing in character 
with the changes of time and fate ; but never wantonly 
rejecting those great principles by which alone we can work 
out the Science of Life — a desire for the Good, a passion for 
the Honest, a yearning after the True. From such princi- 
ples, Experience, that severe Mentor, teaches us at length 
the safe and practical philosophy which consists of Fortitude 
to bear, Serenity to enjoy, and Faith to look beyond ! 

It would have led, perhaps, to more striking incidents, 
and have furnished an interest more intense, if I had cast 
Maltravers, the Man of Genius, amidst those fierce but 
ennobling struggles with poverty and want to which genius 
is so often condemned. But wealth and lassitude have their 
temptations as well as penury and toil. And for the rest — 
I have taken much of my tale and many of my characters 
from real life, and would not unnecessarily seek other foun- 
tains when the "Well of Truth was in my reach. 

The Author has said his say, he retreats once more into 
silence and into shade ; he leaves you alone with the creations 
he has called to life — the representatives of his emotions and 
his thoughts — the intermediators between the individual and 
the crowd : — Children not of the clay, but of the spirit, may 
they be faithful to their origin ! — so should they be monitors, 
not loud but deep, of the world into which they are cast, 
struggling against the obstacles that will beset them, for the 
heritage of their parent — the right to survive the grave ! 

London, August 12, 1937. 



PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1840. 



However numerous the works of fiction with which, my 
dear Reader, I have trespassed on your attention, I have 
published but three, of any account, in which the plot has 
been cast amidst the events, and coloured by the manner, of 
our own times. The first of these, "Pelham," composed 
when I was little more than a boy, has the faults, and perhaps 
the merits, natural to a very early age, — when the novelty 
itself of life quickens the observation, — when we see distinctly, 
and represent vividly, what lies upon the suriace of the 
world, — and when, half sympathising with the follies we 
satirise, there is a gusto in our paintings which atones for 
their exaggeration. As we grow older we observe less, we 
reflect more ; and, like Frankenstein, we dissect in order to 
create. 

The second novel of the present day,* which, after an 
interval of some years, I submitted to the world, was one I 
now, for the first time, acknowledge, and which (revised and 
corrected) will be included in this series, viz., " Godolphin ;" 
— a work devoted to a particular portion of society, and the 
development of a peculiar class of character. The third, 
which I now reprint, is " Ernest Maltravers," t the most 

* For "The Disowned" is cast In the time of our grandfathers, and "The 
Pilgrims of the Rhine" has nothing to do with actual life, and is not, therefore, to 
be called a novel. 

t At the date of this preface "Night and Morning" had not appeared. 



VI PKEPACE. 

mature, and, on the whole, the most comprehensive, of all 
that I have hitherto written. 

For the original idea, which, with humility, I will venture 
to call the philosophical design, of a moral education or 
apprenticeship, I have left it easy to be seen that I am 
indebted to Goethe's " Wilhelm Meister." But, in " Wilhelm 
Meister," the apprenticeship is rather that of theoretical art. 
In the more homely plan that I set before myself, the appren- 
ticeship is rather that of practical life. And, with this view, 
it has been especially my study to avoid all those attractions 
lawful in romance, or tales of pure humour or unbridled 
fancy, — attractions that, in the language of reviewers, are 
styled under the head of " most striking descriptions," " scenes 
of extraordinary power," &o. ; and are derived from violent 
contrasts and exaggerations pushed into caricature. It has 
been my aim to subdue and tone down the persons intro- 
duced, and the general agencies of the narrative, into the 
lights and shadows of life as it is. I do not mean by "life 
as it is," the vulgar and the outward life alone, but life in its 
spiritual and mystic as well as its more visible and fleshly 
characteristics. The idea of not only describing, but deve- 
loping character under the ripening influences of time 
and circumstance, is not confined to the apprenticeship of 
Maltravers alone, but pervades the progress of Cesarini, 
Ferrers, and Alice Darvil. 

The original conception of Alice is taken from real life — 
from a person I never saw but twice, and then she was no 
longer young — but whose history made on me a deep impres- 
sion. Her early ignorance and home — her first love the 

strange and affecting fidelity that she maintained, in spite of 
new ties — her final re-meeting, almost in middle a^e with 
one lost and adored almost in childhood — all this, as shown 



prepack. ra 

In the novel, is but the imperfect transcript of the trufi 
adventures of a living woman. 

In regard to Maltravers himself, I must own that I have 
but inadequately struggled against the great and obvious 
difficulty of representing an author living in our own times, 
with whose supposed works or alleged genius, and those of 
any one actually existing, the reader can establish no identi- 
fication, and he is therefore either compelled constantly to 
humour the delusion by keeping his imagination on the 
stretch, or lazily driven to confound the Author in the Book 
with the Author of the Book.* But I own, also, I fancied, 
while aware of this objection, and in spite of it, that so much 
fcot hitherto said might be conveyed with advantage through 
tne lips or in the life of an imaginary writer of our own 
time, that I was contented, on the whole, either to task the 
imagination, or submit to the suspicions of the reader. All 
that my own egotism appropriates in the book are some 
occasional remarks, the natural result of practical experience. 
"With the life or the character, the adventures or the humours, 
the errors or the good qualities, of Maltravers himself, I have 
nothing to do, except as the narrator and inventor. 

E. B. L. 



* In some foreign journal I have been much amused by a credulity of this latter 
description, and seen the various adventures of Mr. Maltravers gravely appropriated 
to the embellishment of my own life, including the attachment to the original of 
poor Alice Darvil ; who now, by the way. must be at least seventy years of age, 
with a grandchild nearly as old as myself. 



EUNEST MALTRAVER8. 

BOOK I. 

CHAPTER I. 

" M v meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the behalf of the maid * 
* * * yet, who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken ? " 

All's Well that Ends Well, Act iv. Sc. 3. 

Some four miles distant from one of our northern manufacturing 
towns, in the year 18 — , was a wide and desolate common ; a more 
dreary spot it is impossible to conceive — the herbage grew up in 
sickly patches from the midst of a black and stony soil. Not a tree 
was to be seen in the whole of the comfortless expanse. Nature her- 
self had seemed to desert the solitude, as if scared by the ceaseless din 
of the neighbouring forges ; and even Art, which presses all things into 
service, had disdained to cull use or beauty from these unpromising 
demesnes. There was something weird and primeval in the aspect of 
the place ; especially when in the long nights of winter you beheld the 
distant fires and lights, which give to the vicinity of certain manufac- 
tories so preternatural an appearance, streaming red and wild over the 
•waste. So abandoned by man appeared the spot, that you found it 
difficult to imagine that it was only from human fires that its bleak 
and barren desolation was illumined. For miles along the moor you 
detected no vestige of any habitation ; but as you approached the verge 
nearest to the town, you could just perceive at a little distance from 
the main road, by which the common was intersected, a small, solitary, 
and miserable hovel. 

Within this lonely abode, at the time in which my story opens, were 
seated two persons. The one was a man of about fifty vears of age, 
and in a squalid and wretched garb, which was yet relieved by an 
affectation of ill-assorted finery. A silk handkerchief, which boasted 
the ornament of a large brooch of false stones, was twisted jauntily 
round a muscular but meagre throat ; his tattered breeches were also 
decorated by buckles, one of pinchbeck, and one of steel. His frame 
was lean, but broad and sinewy, indicative of considerable strength. 
His countenance was prematurely marked by deep furrows, and his 
errirzk'd hair waved over a low, ragg?d md forbidding brow, on 

3 



A EENEST HALTEAVE11S. 

which there hung an everlasting frown that no smile from the lips 
(and the man smiled often) could chase away. It was a face that 
spoke of long-continued and hardened vice — it was one in which the 
Past had written indelible characters. The brand of the hangman 
could not have stamped it more plainly, nor have more unequivocally 
warned the suspicion of honest or timid men 

Ha was employed in counting some few and paltry coins, which, 
though an easy matter to ascertain their value, he told and retold, as 
if the act could increase the amount. " There must be some mistake 
here, Alice," he said in a low and muttered tone : " we can't be so 
low — you know I had two pounds in the drawer but Monday, and 

now Alice, you must have stolen some of the money — curse 

you." 

The person thus addressed sat at the opposite side of the smoulder- 
ing and sullen fire ; she now looked quietly up, — and her face singu- 
larly contrasted that of the man. 

She seemed about fifteen years of age, and her complexion was 
remarkable pure and delicate, even despite the sunburnt tinge which 
her habits of toil had brought it. Her auburn hair hung in loose and 
natural curls over her forehead, and its luxuriance was remarkable 
even in one so young. Her countenance was beautiful, nay, even 
faultless, in its small and child-like features, but the expression pained 
you — it was so vacant. In repose it was almost the expression of an 
idiot — but when she spoke, or smiled, or even moved a muscle, the 
eyes, colour, lips, kindled into a life which proved that the intellect 
was still there, though but imperfectly awakened. * * 

" I did not steal any, father," she said in a quiet voice ; " but 
I should like to have taken some, only I knew you would beat me 
if I did." 

" And what do you want money for ? " 

" To get food when I'm hungered." 

"Nothing else?" 

" I don't know." 

The girl paused. — " Why don't you let mc," she said, after a while, 
" why don't you let me go and work with the other girls at the factory ? 
I should make money there for you and me both." 

The man smiled — such a smile — it seemed to bring into sudden play 
all the revolting characteristics of his countenance. " Child," he said, 
" you are just fifteen, and a sad fool you are : perhaps if you went to 
the factory, you would get away from me ; and what should I do 
without you ? No, I think, as you are so pretty, you might get 
more money another way." 

The girl did not seem to understand this allusion ; but repeated, 
vacantly, " I should like to go to the factory." 

"•Stuff!" said the man, angrily, " I have three minds to " 

Here he was interrupted by a loud knock at the door of the hovel. 

The man grew pale. "What can that be?" he muttered. " The 
tiour is late — near eleven. Again — again! Ask who knocks 
Alice." 

The girl stood for a moment or so at the door ; and as she stood, her 
foriu, rounded yet slight, her earnest look, her varying colour,' hey 



EllXEST MALT11AVEKS. 3 

te inter youth, and a singular grace of attitude and gesture, would have 
inspired an artist with the very ideal of rustic beauty. 

After a pause, she placed her lips to a chink in the door, and repeated 
her father's question. 

" Pray pardon me," said a clear, loud, yet courteous voice, " but 
seeing a light at your window, I have ventured to ask if any one 
within will conduct me to ; I will pay the service hand- 
somely." 

" Open the door, Alley," said the owner of the hut. 

The girl drew a large wooden bolt from the door ; and a tall figure 
crossed the threshold. 

The new-comer was in the first bloom of youth, perhaps about 
eighteen years of age, and his air and appearance surprised both sire 
and daughter. Alone, on foot, at such an hour, it was impossible for 
any one to mistake him for other than a gentleman ; yet his dress 
was plain, and somewhat soiled by dust, and he carried a small knap- 
sack on his shoulder. As he entered, he lifted his hat with somewhat 
of foreign urbanity, and a profusion of fair brown hair fell partially 
over a high and commanding forehead. His features were handsome, 
without being eminently so, and his aspect was at once bold and pre- 
possessing. 

" I am much obliged by your civility," he said, advancing carelessly, 
and addressing the man, who surveyed him with a scrutinising eye ; 
"and trust, my good fellow, that you will increase the obligation by 
accompanying me to ." 

" You can't miss well your way," said the man surlily : " the lights 
will direct you." 

" They have rather misled me, for they seem to surround the whole 
common, and there is no_ path across it that I can see; however, 
if you will put me in the right road, I will not trouble you further." 

" It is very late," replied the churlish landlord, equivocally. 

" The better reason why I should be at . Come, my good 

friend, put on your hat, and I will give you half a guinea for your 
trouble." 

The man advanced, then halted; again surveyed his guest, and said, 
" Are vou quite alone, sir ? " 

'•• Quite." 

" Probably you are known at ? " 

" Not I. But what matters that to you ? I am a stranger in these 
parts." 

" It is full four miles." 

" So far, and I am fearfully tired already ! " exclaimed the young 
man, with impatience. As he spoke, he drew out his watch. " Past 
eleven, too ! " 

The watch caught the eye of the cottager : that evil eye sparkled. 
He passed his hand over his brow. " I am thinking, sir," he said, in 
a more civil tone than he had yet assumed, " that as you are so tired, 
and the hour is so late, you might almost as_ well " 

" What r" " exclaimed the stranger, stamping somewhat petulantly. 

" I don't like to mention it ; but my poor roof is at your service, 
azt I ™o!:.]d <ro with vovs to at daybreak '!;o-rflorro™." 



» ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

The stranger stared at the cottager, and then at the dingy walls of 
the hut. He was about, very abruptly, to reject the hospitable pro- 
posal, when his eye rested suddenly on the form of Alice, who stood, 
eager-eyed and open-mouthed, gazing on the handsome intruder. As 
she caught his eye, she blushed deeply, and turned aside. The view 
seemed to change the intentions of the stranger. _He hesitated a mo- 
ment, then muttered between his teeth : and sinking his knapsack on 
the ground, he cast himself into a chair beside the fire, stretched his 
limbs, and cried gaily, " So be it, my host : shut up your house again. 
Bring me a cup of beer, and a ciust of bread, and so much for supper ! 
As for bed, this chair will do vastly well." 

" Perhaps we can manage better for you than that chair," an- 
swered the host. " But our best accommodation must seem bad 
enough to a gentleman : we are very poor people — hard-working, but 
very poor." 

" Never mind me," answered the stranger, busying himself in 
stirring the fire ; " I am tolerably well accustomed to greater hard- 
ships than sleeping on a chair in an honest man's house ; and though 
you are poor, I will take it for granted you are honest." 

The man grinned ; and turning to Alice, bade her spread what their 
larder would afford. Some crusts of bread, seme cold potatoes, and 
some tolerably strong beer, composed all the fare set before the 
traveller. 

Despite his previous boasts, the young man made a wry face at 
these Socratic preparations, while he drew his chair to the board. 
But his look grew more gay as he caught Alice's eye ; and as she 
lingered by the table, and faltered out some hesitating words of apo- 
logy, he seized her hand, and pressing it tenderly—" Prettiest of 
lasses," said he— and while he spoke he gazed on her with undisguised 
admiration — " a man who has travelled on foot all day, through the 
ugliest country within the three seas, is sufficiently refreshed at night 
by the sight of so fair a face." 

Alice hastily withdrew her hand, and went and seated herself in 
a corner of the room, whence she continued to look at the stranger 
with her usual vacant gaze, but with a half-smile upon her rosy lips. 

Alice's father looked hard first at one, then at the other. 

" Eat, sir," said he, with a sort of chuckle, " and no fine words ; poor 
Alice is honest, as you said just now." 

" To be sure," answered the traveller, employing with great zeal 
a set of strong, even, and dazzling teeth at the tough crusts ; " to be 
sure she is. I did not mean to offend you ; but the fact is, that I 
im half a foreigner ; and abroad, you know, one may say a civil thing 
to a pretty girl without hurting her feelings, or her father's either." 

" Half a foreigner ! why you talk English as well as I do," said the 
host, whose intonation and words were, on the whole, a little above 
his station. 

The stranger smiled. " Thank you for the compliment," said he. 
" What I meant was, that I have been a great deal abroad ; in fact, I 
have just returned from Germany. But I am English-born." 

" And going home ? " 

" }es." 



ERNEt>T MALTRAYERS. 5 

" Far from hence P " 

" About thirty miles, I believe." 

" You are young, sir, to be alone." 

The traveller made no answer, but finished his uninviting repast, 
and drew his cnair again to the fire. He then thought he had suffi- 
ciently ministered to his host's curiosity to be entitled to the gratifica- 
tion of his own. 

'' You Avork at the factories, I suppose ? " said he. 

" I do, sir. Bad times." 

" And your pretty daughter ? " 

'' blinds the house." 

" Have you no other children ? " 

" No ; one mouth besides my own is as much as I can feed, and that 
scarcely. But you would like to rest now ; you can have my bed, sir; 
1 can sleep here." 

'"' By no means," said the stranger, quickly; "just put a few more 
coals on the fire, and leave me to make myself comfortable." 

The man rose, and did not press his offer, but left the room for a 
supply of fuel. Alice remained in her corner. 

" Sweetheart," said the traveller, looking round and satisfying him- 
self that they were alone ; I should sleep well if I could get one kiss 
from those coral lips." 

Alice hid her face with her hands. 

" Do I vex vou ? " 

" no, sir." 

At this assurance the traveller rose, and approached Alice softly. 
He drew away her hands from her face, when she said gently, " Have 
you much money about you ? " 

"O, the mercenary baggage! " said the traveller to himself; and 
then replied aloud, " Why, pretty one ? — Do you sell your kisses so 
nigh then ? " 

Alice frowned, and tossed the hair from her brow. " If you have 
money," she said, in a whisper, " don't say so to father. Don't sleep 
& you can help it. I'm afraid— hush — he comes ! " 

The young man returned to his seat with an altered manner. And 
as his host entered, he for the first time surveyed him closely. The 
imperfect glimmer of the half-dying and single candle threw into 
strong lights and shades the marked, ragged, and ferocious features 
of the cottager ; and the eye of the traveller, glancing from the face 
to the limbs and frame, saw that whatever of violence the mind might 
design, the body might well execute. 

The traveller sank into a gloomy reverie. _ The wind howled — the 
rain beat— through the casement shone no solitary star— all was dark 
and sombre ; — should he proceed alone — might he not suffer a greater 
fangcr upon that wide and desert moor — might not the host follow 
; — assault him in the dark ? He had no weapon, save a stick. But 
within, he had a least a rude resource in the large kitchen poker that 
was beside him. At all events, it would be better to wait for the 
present. He might at any time, when alone, withdraw the bolt from 
the door, and slip out unobserved. 

Such was the fruit of hi* meditations while his host plied the fire. 



EKNEST MALTKA.TEKS. 



" You will sleep sound to-night," said liis entertainer, smiling. 

"Humph! Why I am cwr-fatigucd ; 1 dare say it will lie an 
hour or two before I fall asleep ; but wlien I once am asleep, I sleep 
'<ke a rock!" 

"Come, Alice," said her father, " let us leave the gentleman. Good 
night, sir." 

" Good night — good night " returned the traveller, yawning. 

The father and daughter disappeared through a door in the corner 
of the room. The guest heard them ascend the creaking stairs — all 
was still. 

" Fool that I am," said the traveller to himself, " will nothing_ teach 
me that I am no longer a student at Gottingen, or cure me of these 

fedestrian adventures ? Had it not been for that girl's big blue eyes, 
should be safe at by this time ; if, indeed, the grim father 

had not murdered me by the road. However, we'll balk him yet : 
another half-hour, and I am on the moor : we must give him tune. 
And in the mean while here is the poker. At the worst it is but one 
to one ; but the churl is strongly built." 

Although the traveller thus endeavoured to cheer his courage, his 
heart beat more loudly than its wont. He kept his eyes stationed on 
the door by which the cottagers had vanished, and his hand on the 
massive poker. 

While the stranger was thus employed below, Alice, instead of 
turning to her own narrow cell, went into her father's room. 

The cottager was seated at the foot of his bed, muttering to himself 
and with eyes fixed on the ground. 

The girl stood before him, gazing on his face, and with her arms 
\ightly crossed above her bosom. 

" It must be worth twenty guineas," said the host, abruptly to 
oimself. 

" What is it to you, father, what the gentleman's watch is worth ?" 

The man started. 

" You mean," continued Alice, quietly, " you mean to do some 
injury to that young man ; but you shall not." 

The cottager's face grew black as night. " How," lie began in a 
loud voice, but suddenly dropped the tone into a deep growl—" how 
dare you talk to me so ? — go to bed — go to bed." 

" No, father." 

"No?" 

" 1 will not stir from this room until daybreak." 

" We will soon see that," said the man, with an oath. 

" Touch me, and I will alarm the gentleman, and tell him that " 

"What?" 

The girl approached her father, placed her lips to his ear, aisd 
whispered, " That you intend to murder him." 

The cottager's frame trembled from head to foot; he shut his eyes, 
and gasped painfully for breach. "Alice," said he, gently, after a 
pause — " Alice, we are often nearly starving." 

" I am — yoti never ! " 

" Wretch, yes ! if I do drink too much one day, 1 pinch tor it the 
next. But go to bed, I say — I mean no harm to the young num. 



BliSEST MALTRAVEHfi. 7 

Think you I would twist myself a rope ? — no, no ; — go along, go 
along." 

Alice's face, which had before been earnest and almost intelligent, 
now relapsed into its wonted vacant stare. 

" To be sure, father, they would hang you if you cut his throat. 
Don't forget that ; — good night ;"— and so saying, she walked to her 
own opposite chamber. 

Left alone, the host pressed his hand tightly to his forehead, and 
remained motionless for nearly half an hour. 

" If that cursed girl would but sleep," he muttered at last, turning 
round, " it might be done at once. And there's the pond behind, as 
deep as a well ; and I might say at daybreak that the hoy had bolted. 
He seems quite a stranger here — nobody '11 miss him. He must have 
plenty of blunt to give half a guinea to a guide across a common ! I 
want money, and 1 won't work — if I can help it, at least." 

"While he thus soliloquised, the air seemed to oppress him; he 
opened the window, he leant out — the rain beat upon nun. He closed 
the window with an oath ; took off his shoes, stole to the threshold, 
and, by the candle which he shaded with his hand, surveyed the 
opposite door. It was closed. He then bent anxiously forward and 
listened. 

"All's quiet," thought he, "perhaps he sleeps already. I will 
steal down. If Jack Walters would but come to-night, the job would 
be done charmingly." 

With that he crept gently down the stairs. In a corner, at the foot 
of the staircase, lay sundry matters, a few faggots, and a cleaver. He 
caught up the last. " Ana," he muttered ; " and there's the sledge- 
hammer somewhere for Waiters." Leaning himself against the door, 
he then applied his eye to a chink which admitted a dim view of the 
room within, lighted fitfully by the fire. 



CHAPTER H. 

" What have we here? 
A carrion death!" 

Merchant of Venice, Act ii. Sc. '}. 

ii was about this time that the stranger deemed it advisable to 
commence his retreat. The slight and suppressed sound of voices, 
which at first he had heard above in the conversation of the father 
and child, had died away. The stillness at once encouraged and 
warned him. He stole to the front door, softly undid the bolt, and 
found the door locked, and the key missing. He had not observed 
that during his repast, and ere his suspicions had been aroused, his 
host, in replacing the bar, and relocking the entrance, had abstracted 
the key. His fears were now confirmed. His next thought was the 
window — the shutter only protected it half way, and was easily 
removed ; but the aperture ol the lattice, wlrch only opened in part 



LKKJSST MAXTRAVEBS. 

like most cottage casements, was far too small to admit his persoa, 
His only means of escape was in breaking the whole window; a 
matter not to be effected without noise, and consequent risk. 

He paused in despair. He was naturally of a strong-nerved and 
gallant temperament, nor unaccustomed to those perils of life and 
limb which German students delight to brave ; but his heart weil- 
aigh ^ailed him at that moment. The silence became distinct and 
burdensome to him, and a chill moisture gathered to his brow. While 
fie stood irresolute ana in suspense, striving to collect his thoughts, hi? 
ear, pretematurally sharpened by fear, caught the faint muffled sound 
of creeping footsteps— he heard the stairs creak. The sound broke 
the spell. The previous vague apprehension gave way, when the 
danger became actually at hand. His presence of mind returned at 
once. He went back quickly to the fireplace, seized the poker, and 
began stirring the fire, and coughing loud, and indicating as vigorously 
as possible that he was wide awake. 

He felt that he was watched — he felt that he was in momently 
peril. He felt that the appearance of slumber would be the signal 
for a mortal conflict. Time passed, all remained silent ; nearly half 
an hour had elapsed since lie had heard the steps upon the stairs. 
His situation began to prey upon his nerves, it irritated them — it 
became intolerable. It was not, now, fear that he experienced, it was 
the overwrought sense of mortal enmity — the consciousness that a 
man may feel who knows that the eye of a tiger is on him, and who, 
while in suspense he has regained his courage, foresees that sooner or 
later the spring must come ; — the suspense itself becomes an agony, 
and he desires to expedite the deadly struggle he cannot shun. 

Utterly incapableany longer to bear his own sensations, the traveller 
rose at last, fixed his eyes upon the fatal door, and was about to cry 
aloud to the listener to enter, when he heard a slight tap at the 
window ; it was twice repeated ; and at the third time a low voice 
pronounced the name of Darvil. It was clear, then, that accomplices 
had arrived ; it was no longer against one man that he should have to 
contend. He drew his breath hard, and listened with throbbing 
ears. He heard steps without upon the plashing soil ; they retired — 
all was still. 

He paused a few minutes, and walked deliberately and firmly to the 
inner door, at which he fancied his host stationed ; with a steady hand 
he attempted to open the door ; it was fastened on the opposite side. 
"So ! " said he, bitterly, and grinding his teeth; "I must die like a 
rat in a cage. Well, I'll die biting." 

He returned to his former post, drew himself up to his full height, 
and stood grasping his homely weapon, prepared for the worst, and 
not altogether unelated with a proud consciousness of his own natural 
advantages of activity, stature, strength, and daring. Minutes rolled 
on ! the silence was broken by some one at the inner door ; he heard 
the bolt gently withdrawn. He raised his weapon with both hands ; 
Mid started to find the intruder was only Alice. She came in with 
gwe feet, and pale as marble, her finger on her lips. 

She approached — she touched him. 

*They are in the shed behind," she whispered, "looting fev 



jiRNEST MALTBAVEES. V 

(lie sledge banmier— they mean to murder you; get you gone— 
quick." 

" How ?— the door is locked." 

" Stay. I have taken the key from his room." 

She gained the door, applied the key— the door yielded. The 
t raveller threw his knapsack once more over his shoulder and made 
but one stride to the threshold. The girl stopped him. "Don't say 
anything about it ; he is my father, they would hang him." 

" No, no. But you ?— are safe, I trust ?— depend on my gratitude. 

— I shall be at to-morrow— the best inn— seek me if you can ! 

Which way now ? " 

"Keep to the left." 

The stranger was already several paces distant ; through the dark- 
ness, and in the midst of the rain, he fled on with the speed of youtb. 
The girl lingered an instant, sighed, then laughed aloud ; closed and 
re-barred the door, and was creeping back, when from the inner 
entrance advanced the grim father, and another man, of broad, short,, 
sinewy frame, his arms hare, and wielding a large hammer. 

" How ? " asked the host ; " Alice here, and— hell and the devil ! 
have you let him go ? " 

" I told you that you should not harm him." 

With a violent oath, the ruffian struck his daughter to the ground, 
.sprang over her body, unbarred the door, and, accompanied by his 
comrade, set off in vague pursuit of his intended victim. 



CHAPTER HI. 

" You knew — none so well, of my daughter's flight." 

Merchant of Venice, Act iii. Sc. 1, 

Tue day dawned; it was a mild, damp, hazy morning; the sod 
sank deep beneath the foot, the roads were heavy with mire, and the 
rain of the past night lay here and there in broad shallow pools. 
Towards the town, waggons, carts, pedestrian groups were already 
moving ; and, now and then, you caught the sharp horn of some early 
coach, wheeling its be-cloaked outside and be-nightcapped inside pas- 
sengers along the northern thoroughfare. 

A young man bounded over a style into the road just opposite to 
the mile-stone, that declared him to be one mile from . 

'•' Thank Heaven ! " he said, almost aloud. "After spending the 
night wandering about morasses like a will-o'-the-wisp, I approach a 
town at last. Thank Heaven, again, and for all its mercies this night ! 
1 breathe freely. I a^i safe." 

He walked on somewhat rapidly ; he passed a slow waggon — he 
passed a group of mechanics — he nassed a drove of sheep, and now be 
saw walking leisurely before him a single figure. It was a girl, in a 
worn and humble dress, who seemed to seek her weary way with- 
pain and languor. He was about also to pass her, when he beard a< 



10 EKNEST MALTEAVHES. 

low cry. He turned, and beheld in the wayfarer his preserver of the 
previous night. 

" Heavens ! is it indeed you ? Can I believe my eyes ?" 

" I was coming to seek you, sir," said the girl, faintly. " I too 
have escaped ; I shall never go back to father ; I have no roof to cover 
my head now." 

'" Poor child ! but how is this ? Did they ill-use you for releasing 
me?" 

" Father knocked me down, and beat me again when he came back ; 
hut that is not all," she added, in a very low tone. 

"What else?" 

The girl grew red and white by turns. She set her teeth rigidly, 
stopped short, and then walking on quicker than before, replied— 
" It don't matter ; I will never go back — I'm alone now. What, 
what shall I do ?" and she wrung her hands. 

The traveller's pity was deeply moved. " My good girl," said he, 
earnestly, " you have saved my life, and I am not ungrateful. Here" 
(and he placed some gold in her hand), " get yourself a lodging, food, 
and rest; you look as if you wanted them- and see me again this 
evening when it is dark, and we can talk unobserved." 

The girl took the money passively, and looked up in his face while 
he spoke ; the look was so unsuspecting, and the whole countenance 
was so beautifully modest and \drgin-like, that had any evil passion 
prompted the traveller's last words, it must have fled scared and 
abashed as he met the gaze. 

" My poor girl," said he, embarrassed, and after a short pause ; — 
" you are very young, and very, very pretty. In this town you will 
be exposed to many temptations : take care where you lodge, you 
have, no doubt, friends here ? " 

" Friends ? — what are friends ?" answered Alice. 

" Have vou no relations ; no mother's kin?'''' 

" None." 

" Do you know where to ask shelter?" 

" No, sir ; for I can't go where father goes, lest he should find me 
out." 

" WelL then, seek some quiet inn, and meet me this evening, just 
here, half a mile from the town, at seven. I will try and think of 
something for you in the mean while. But you seem tired, you walk 
with pain ; perhaps it will fatigue you to come — I mean, you had 
rather perhaps rest another day." 

" Oh, no, no ! it will do me good to see you again, sir." 

The young man's eyes met hers, and hers were not withdrawn ; their 
soft blue was suffused with tears — they penetrated his soul. 

He turned away hastily, and saw that they were already the subject 
of curious observation to the various passengers that overtook them. 
" Don't forget !" he whispered, and strode on with a pace that soon 
Drought him to the town. _ 

He inquired for the principal hotel — entered it with an air that 
bespoke that nameless consciousness of superiority which belongs to 
tliose accustomed to purchase welcome wherever welcome is bought 
end sold — and before a blazing fire and no unsubstantial breakfast. 



ERNEST MAXTKA.VEKS. 1] 

forgot ail the terrors of the past night, or rather i'elt rejoiced to think 
he had added a new and strange hazard to the catalogue of adventures 
already experienced by Ernest Maltravers. 



CHAPTER IV. 

" Con una Dama tenia 
Un galan conversation."* 

Moratin: El Tiatro Espanol. — Num. JS. 

Maxtkavers was first at the appointed place. His character was 
in most respects singularly energetic, decided, and premature in its 
development ; but not so in regard to women : with them he was the 
creature of the moment ; and, driven to and fro by whatever impulse, 
or whatever passion, caught the caprice of a wild, roving, and all- 
poetical imagination, Maltravers was, half unconsciously, a poet — a 
poet of action, and woman was his muse. 

He had formed no plan of conduct towards the poor girl he was to 
meet. He meant no harm to her. If she had been less handsome, 
he would have been equally grateful ; and her dress, and youth, and 
condition, would equally have compelled him to select the hour of 
dusk for an interview. 

He arrived at the spot._ The winter night had already descended ; 
but a sharp frost had set in : the air was clear, the stars were bright, 
and the long shadows slept, still and calm, along the broad road, and 
the whitened fields beyond. 

He walked briskly to and fro, without much thought of the inter- 
view, or its object, half chanting old verses, German and English, to 
himself, and stopping to gaze every moment at the silent stars. 

At length he saw Alice approach : she came up to him timidly and 
gently. His heart beat more quickly • he felt that he was young and 
alone with beauty. " Sweet girl " he said, with involuntary and 
mechanical compliment, "how well this light becomes you! How 
shall I thank you for not forgetting me ?" 

Alice surrendered her hand to his without a struggle. 

" What is your name ?" said he, bending his face down to hers. 

" Alice Darvil." 

" And your terrible father, — is he, in truth, your father ?" 

" Indeed he is my father and mother too ! " 

" What made you suspect his intention to murder me ? Has he 
ever attempted the like crime ?" 

" No • but lately he has often talked of robbery. He is very poor, 
sir. And when I saw Ms eye, and when afterwards, while your Dack 
was turned, he took the key from the door, I felt that — that you were 
in danger." 

" Good girl — go on." 

" I told him so when we went upstairs. I did not know what to 

• With a 'lame he held a eallant conversation. 



12 J3KXEST MALTRAVEKS. 

believe, when he said he would not hurt you ; but I stole the key oi 
the front door, which he had thrown on the table, and went to my 
room. I listened at my door ; I heard liim go down the stairs : he 
stopped there for some time ; and I watched him from above. The 
place where he was opened to the field by the backway. After some 
time, I heard a voice whisper him : I knew the voice, and then they 
both went out by the backway ; so I stole down, and went out and 
listen ; and I knew the other man was John Walters. I'm afraid of 
him, sir. And then Walters said, says he, " I will get the hammer, and, 
sleep or wake, we'll do it.' And father said, ' It's in the shed.' So I 
saw there was no time to be lost, sir, and — and — but you know all the 
rest." 

" But how did you escape?" 

" Oh, my father, after taking to Walters, came to my room, and beat 
and — and — frightened me ; and when he was gone to bed, I put on 
my clothes, and stole out ; it was just light ; and I walked on till I 
met you." 

" Poor child, in what a den of vice ha ir e you been brought up ! " 

" Anan, sir." 

" She don't understand me. Have you been taught to read and 
write?" 

"Oh, no!" 

" But I suppose you have been taught, at least, to say your cathe- 
chism — and you pray sometimes ?" 

" I have prayed to father not to beat me." 

"But to God?" 

" God, sir ! — what is that ?"* 

Maltravers drew back, shocked and appalled. Premature philoso- 
pher as he was, this depth of ignorance perplexed his wisdom. He 
had read all the disputes of schoolmen, whether or not the notion of a 
Supreme Being is innate ; but lie had never before been brought face 
to iace with a living creature who was unconscious of a God. 

After a pause, he said — " My poor girl, we misunderstand each 
other. You know that there is a God?" 

" No, sir." 

" Did no one^ ever tell you who made the stars you now survey — 
the earth on which you tread?" 

" No." 

" And have you never thought about it yourself? " 

" Why should I ? What has that to do with being cold aivi 
hungry ? " 

Maltravers looked incredulous. — " You see that great building, with 
the spire rising in the starlight ? " 

" Yes, sir, sure." 

"What is it called?" 

- This ignorance — indeed the whole sketch of Alice— is from the life ; nor is such 
ignorance, accompanied by what almost seems an instinctive or intuitive notion 
of right or wrong, very uncommon, as our police reports can testify. In the 
*' Examiner" for, I think, the year 1835, will be found the case of a young girl 
ill-treated by her father, whose answers to the interrogatories of the magistrate 
arc very similar to those of Alice to the questions of Maltravers. 



BR.NKST M.YI.TRAVEKS. 13 

" Why, a church." 

" Did vuu never go into it ?" 

" No."' 

" What do people do there?" 

" Father savs one man talks nonsense, and the other folk listen 1c 
nim." 

" Your father is no matter. Good heavens ! what shall I do 

with this unhappy child?" 

'• Yes, sir, 1 am very unhappy," said Alice, catching at the last, 
words ; and the tears rolled silently down her cheeks. 

Maltravers never was more touched ill his life. Whatever thougl :1 s 
of gallantry might have entered his young head, had he found Alice 
such as he might reasonably have expected, he now felt there was a 
kind of sanctity in her ignorance ; and his gratitude and kindly senti- 
ment towards her took almost a brotherly aspect. — " You know, at 
least, what school is ?" he asked. 

" Yes, I have talked with girls who go to school." 
' Would you like to go there, too ?" 

" Oh, no, sir — pray not ! " 

" What should you like to do, then ?— Speak out child. I owe you 
so much, that I should be too happy to make you comfortable and 
contented in your own way." 

" I should like to live with you, sir." Maltravers started, and half 
smiled, and coloured. But looking on her eyes, which were fixed 
earnestly on his, there was so much artlessness in their soft, uncon- 
scious gaze, that he saw she was wholly ignorant of the interpretation 
that might be put upon so candid a confession. 

I have said that Maltravers was a wild, enthusiastic, odd being— he 
was in fact, full of strange German romance and metaphysical specu- 
lations. He had once shut himself up for months to study astrology — 
and been even suspected of a serious hunt after the philosopher's 
stone ; another time he had narrowly escaped with life and liberty 
from a frantic conspiracy of the young republicans of his university, 
in which, being bolder and madder than most of them, he had been an 
active ringleader ; it was, indeed, some such folly that had compelled 
him to quit Germany sooner than himself or his parents desired. He 
had notliing of the sober Englishman about him. Whatever was 
strange and eccentric had an irresistible charm for Ernest Maltravers. 
And agreeably to this disposition, he now revolved an idea that 
enchanted his mobile and fantastic philosophy. He himself would 
educate this charming girl — he would write fair and heavenly cha- 
racters upon this blank page— he would act the Saint Preux to this 
Juie of Nature. Alas, he did not tliink of the residt which the 
parallel should have suggested ! At that age, Ernest Maltravers 
never damped the ardour of an experiment by the anticipation of con- 
sequences. 

" So," he said, after a short reverie, " so you would like to live 
with me ? But, Alice, we must not fall in love with each other." 

" I don't understand, sir." 

" Never mind," said Maltravers, a little disconcerted. 

" I always wished to go into service." 



14 ERNEST MALTRAVEBS. 

"Ha!~ 

" And you would be a loud master.'' 

Maltravers was half disenchanted. 

" No very flattering preference," thought he : " so much the safei 
for us. Well, Alice, it shall be as you wish. Are you comfortable 
where you are, in your new lodging?" 

" No." 

" Why, they do not insult you ? " 

"No; but they make a noise, and I like to be quiet to think of 
you." 

The young philosopher was reconciled again to his scheme. 

" Well, Alice — go Dack — I will take a cottage to-morrow, and yoa 
shall be my servant, and I will teach you to read and write, and say 
vour prayers, and know that you have a Father above who loves you 
better than he belo w . Meet me again at the same hour to-morrow. 
Why do you cry, Alice ? why do you cry ?" 

"Because — because," sobbed the girl, "I am so happy, and I sh^. 
live with you and see you." 

" Go, child— go, child," said Maltravers, hastily ; and he walked 
away with a quicker pulse than became his new character of master 
and preceptor. 

He looked back, and saw the girl gazing at him ; he waved Ins hand, 
and she moved on and followed him slowly back to the town. 

Maltravers, though not an elder son, was the heir of affluent for- 
tunes ; he enjoyed a munificent allowance that sufficed for the whims 
of a youth who had learned in Germany none of the extravagant 
notions common to young Englishmen of similar birth and prospects. 
He was a spoiled child, with no law but his own fancy,— his return 
home was not expected, — there was nothing to prevent the indulgence 
of his new caprice. The next day he hired a cottage in the neighbour- 
hood, which was one of those pretty thatched edifices, with verandahs 
and monthly roses, a conservatory and a lawn, which justify the 
English proverb about a cottage and love. It had been built by a 
mercantile bachelor for some fair Rosamond, and did credit to his 
taste. An old woman, let with the house, was to cook and do the 
work. Alice was but a nominal servant. Neither the old woman nor 
the landlord comprehended the Platonic intentions of the young 
stranger. But he paid his rent in advance, and they were not par- 
ticular. He, however, thought it prudent to conceal his name. It 
was one sure to be known in a town not very distant from the 
residence of his father, a wealthy and long-descended country gentle- 
man. He adopted, therefore, the common name of Butler ; which, 
indeed, belonged to one of his maternal connections, and by that 
name alone was he known both in the neighbourhood and to Alice. 
From her he would not have sought concealment,— but somehow or 
other no occasion ever presented itself to induce him to talk mucb 
to 'ier of his parentage or birtli. 



EltNEST MALTRAVEE3. 



CHAPTER V 

" Thought would destroy their Paradise." — Giiat. 

Malteavers found Alice as docile a pupil as any reasonable pre- 
ceptor might have desired. But still, reading and writing — they are 
very uninteresting elements ! Had the groundwork been laid, it 
might have been delightful to raise the fairy palace of knowledge ; 
but the digging the foundations and the constructing the cellars is 
weary labour. Perhaps he felt it so, — for in a few days Alice was 
handed over to the very oldest and ugliest writing-master that the 
neighbouring town could afford. The poor girl at first wept much at 
the exchange ; but the grave remonstrances and solemn exhortations 
of Maitravers reconciled her at last, and she promised to work hard 
and pay every attention to her lessons. I am not sure, however, that 
if was the tedium of the work that deterred the idealist — perhaps he 
felt its danger — and at the bottom of his sparkling dreams and bril- 
liant follies lay a sound, generous, and noble heart. He was fond of 
pleasure, and had been already the darling of the sentimental German 
ladies. But he was too young and too vivid, and too romantic, to be 
what is called a sensualist. He could not look upon a fair face, and a 
guileless smile, and all the ineffable symmetry of a woman's shape, 
irith the eye of a man buying cattle for base uses. He very easily fell 
in lore, or fancied he did, it is true, — but then he could not separate 
desire from fancy, or calculate the game of passion without bringing 
the heart or t'ic imagination into the matter. And though Alice was 
very pretty and very engaging, he was not yet in love with her, and he 
had no intention of becoming so. 

He felt the evening somewhat long, when for the first time Alice 
discontinued her usual lesson ; but Maitravers had abundant resources 
in himself. He placed Shakspeare and Schiller on his table, and 
lighted his German meerschaum— he read till he became inspired, and 
then he wrote— and when he had composed a few stanzas he was not 
contented till he had set them to music, and tried their melody with 
his voice. For he had all the passion of a German for song and 
music — that wild Maitravers !— and his voice was sweet, his taste 
consummate, his science profound. As the sun puts out a star, so 
the full blaze of his imagination, fairly kindled, extinguished for the 
time his fairy fancy for his beautiful pupil. 

It was late that night when Maitravers went to bed — and as he 
passed through the narrow corridor that led to his chamber, he heard 
a light step flying before him, and caught the glimpse of a female 
figure escaping through a distant door. "The silly child !" thought 
he, at once divining the cause ; " she has been listening to my singing. 
I shall scold her." But he forgot that resolution. 

The next day, and the next, and many days passed, and Maitravers 



i"0 ERKEST MALTUA.VBRS. 

saw but little of the pupil for whose sake he had shut himself up in a 
■country cottage, in the depth of winter. Still he did not repent his 
purpose, nor was he in the least tired of his seclusion — he would not 
inspect Alice's progress, for he was certain he should be dissatisfied 
with its slowness — and people, however handsome, cannot learn to 
Vead and write in a day. But he amused himself, notwithstanding. 
He was glad of an opportunity to be alone with his own thoughts, 
for he was at one of those periodical epochs of life when we like to 
pause and breathe awhile, in brief respite from that methodical race 
sn which we run to the grave. He wished to re-collect the stores of 
his past experience, and repose on his own mind, before he started 
afresh upon the active world. The weather was cold and inclement ; 
but Ernest Maltravers was a hardy lover of nature, and neither snow 
nor frost could detain him from his daily rambles. So about noon, he 
regularly threw aside books and papers, and took his hat and staff, 
and went whistling or humming his favourite airs through the dreary 
streets, or along the bleak waters, or amidst the leafless woods, just 
as the humour seized him ; for he was not an Edwin or Harold, who 
reserved speculation only for lonely brooks and pastoral hills. Mal- 
travers delighted to contemplate nature in men as well as in sheep or 
trees. The humblest alley m a crowded town had something poetical 
for him ; he was ever ready to mix in a crowd, if it were only gathered 
round a barrel-organ or a dog-fight, and listen to all that was said, 
and notice all that was done. And this I take to be the true poetical 
temperament essential to every artist who aspires to be something more 
than a scene-painter. But, above all things, he was most interested in 
any display of human passions or affections ; he loved to see the true 
colours of the heart, where they are most transparent — in the un- 
educated and poor — for he was something of an optimist, and had a 
hearty faith in the loveliness of our nature. Perhaps, indeed, he 
•owed much of the insight into and mastery over character that he was 
afterwards considered to display, to his disbelief that there is any 
wickedness so dark as not to be susceptible of the light in some place 
or another. But Maltravers had his fits of unsociability, and then 
nothing but the most solitary scenes delighted him. Winter or 
summer, barren waste or rjrodigal verdure, all had beauty in his eyes ; 
1'or their beauty lay in his own soul, through which he beheld them. 
Erom these walks he would return home at dusk, take his simple 
meal, rhyme or read away the long evenings with such alternation as 
music or the dreamy thoughts of a young man with gay life before 
him could afford. Happy Maltravers ! — youth and genius have 
luxuries all the Rothschilds cannot purchase ! And yet, Maltravers, 
you are ambitious ! — life moves too slowly for you ! — you would push 
on the wheels of the clock ! — Eool — brilliant fool '.—you are eighteen, 
and a poet ! — What more can you desire ? — Bid Time stop for 
ever ! 

One morning Ernest rose earlier than his wont, and sauntered care- 
lessly throvgii the conservatory which adjoined his sitting-room; 
observing the plants with placid curiosity (for besides being a little 
of a botanist, he had odd visionary notions about the life of plants, and 
lie saw in them a hundred mysteries which the herbalists do not 



EKNEST MALTRAVERS. lj 

teach us), when he heard a low and very musical voice singing at a 
little distance. He listened, and recognised, with surprise, words oi 
his own, which he had lately set to music, and was sufficiently pleased 
with to sing nightly. 

When the song ended, Maltravers stole softly through the con- 
servatory, and as he opened the door which led into the garden, he 
saw at the open window of a little room which was apportioned to 
Alice, and jutted out from the building in the fanciful irregularity 
common to ornamental cottages, the form of his discarded pupil. 
She did not observe him, and it was not till he twice called her 
by name that she started from her thoughtful and melancholy 
posture. 

"Alice," said he, gently, "put on your bonnet, and walk with 
me in the garden : you look pale, child ; the fresh ah- will do you 
good." 

Alice coloured and smiled, and in a few moments was by his side. 
Maltravers, meanwhile, had gone in and lighted his meerschaum, for 
it was his great inspirer whenever Iris thoughts were perplexed, or he 
felt his usual fluency likely to fail him, and such was the case now. 
With this faithful ally he awaited Alice in the little walk that circled 
the lawn, amidst shrubs and evergreens. 

"Alice," said he, after a pause ; but he stopped short. 

Alice looked up to him with grave respect. 

"Tush!" said Maltravers; "perhaps the smoke is unpleasant to 
you. It is a bad habit of mine." 

" No, sir," answered Alice ; and she seemed disappointed. Mai - 
travers paused and picked up a snowdrop. 

" It is pretty," he said ; do you love flowers ?" 

" Oh, dearly," answered Alice, with some enthusiasm ; " I never 
saw many till I came here." 

'■' Now then, I can go on," thought Maltravers : why, I cannot say 
for I do not see the sequitur ; but on he went in medias res. " Alice, 
you sing charmingly." 

" Ah ! sir, you — you — " she stopped abruptly, and trembled visibly. 

" Yes, I overheard you, Alice." 

" And you are angry ? " 

" I ! — Heaven, forbid ! It is a talent, but you don't know what that 
is ; I mean it is an excellent thing to have an ear, and a voice, and a 
heart for music ; and you have all three." 

He paused, for he felt his hand touched ; Alice suddenly clasped 
and kissed it. Maltravers thrilled through his whole frame; but 
there was something in the girl's look that showed she was wholly 
unaware that she had committed an unmaidenly or forward action. 

" I was so afraid you would be angry," she said, wiping her eyes as 
she dropped his hand ; " and now I suppose you know all." 

"All!" 

" Yes ; how I listened to you every evening, and lay awake the whole 
night with the music ringing in my ears, till I tried to go over it 
myself; and so at last I ventured to sing aloud. I like that much 
better than learning to read." 

All this was delightful to Maltravers : the girl had touched upon 



18 ERNEST MALTBAVEKS. 

one of his weak points; however, he remained silent. Alice con- 
tinued — 

" And now, sir, I hope you will let me come and sit outside the 
door every evening and hear you ; I will make no noise — I will be so 
quiet." 

"What, in that cold corridor, these bitter nights ?" 

" T am used to cold, sir. Father would not let me have a fire when 
ne was not at home." 

"No, Alice, but you shall come into the room while I play, and [ 
will give you a lesson or two. I am glad you have so good an ear ; it 
may be a means of your earning your own honest livelihood when you 
leave me." 

"When I — —but I never intend to leave you, sir!" said Alice, 
beginning fearfully, and ending calmly. 

Maltravers had recourse to the meerschaum. 

Luckily, perhaps, at this time, they were joined by Mr. Simcox, the 
old writing-master. Alice went in to prepare her books ; but Mal- 
travers laid his hand upon the preceptor's shoulder. 

" You have a quick pupil, I nope, sir," said he. 

" 0, very, very, Mr. Butler. She comes on famously. She practises 
a great deal when I am away, and I do my best." 

"And," asked Maltravers, in a grave tone, "have you succeeded in 
instilling into the poor child's mind some of those more sacred notions 
of which I spoke to you in our first meeting ?" 

" Why, sir, she was indeed quite a heathen — quite a Mahometan, 
I may say • but she is a little better now." 

" What have you taught her ?" 

" That God made her." 

" That is a great step." 

"And that he loves good girls, and will watch over them." 

"Bravo! You beat Plato." 

" No, sir, I never beat any one, except little Jack Turner ; but he 
is a dunce." 

" Bah ! What else do you teach her ? " 

" That the devil runs away with bad girls, and " 

" Stop there, Mr. Simcox. Never mind the devil yet awhile. Let 
her first learn to do good, that God may love her ; the rest will follow. 
I would rather make people religious through their best feelings than 
their worst, — through their gratitude and affections, rather than their 
fears and calculations of risk and punishment." 

Mr. Simcox stared. 

" Does she say her prayers ?" 

" I have taught her a short one." 

"Did she learn it readily ?" 

"Lord love her, yes ! When I told her she ought to pray to God 
to bless her benefactor, she would not rest till I had repeated a 
prayer out of our Sunday-school book, and she got it by neart at 
once." 

" Enough, Mr. Simcox. I will not detain you longer." 

Forgetful of his untasted breakfast, Maltravers continued his 
meerschaum and his reflections: he did not cease, till he had convinced 



EBNJiST MALTRAVERS. 19 

himself lliat he was but doing his duty to Alice, by teaching her to 
cultivate the charming talent she evidently possessed, and through 
which she might secure her own independence. He fancied that he 
should thus relieve himself of a charge and responsibility which often 
perplexed him. Alice would leave him, enabled to walk the world in 
an honest professional path. It was an excellent idea. " But there 
is danger," whispered Conscience. "Ay," answered Philosophy and 
pride, those wise dupes that are always so solemn, and always so taken 
in ; " but what is virtue without trial ?" 

And now every evening, when the windows were closed, and the 
nearth burnt clear, while the winds stormed, and the rain beat without, 
a lithe and lovely shape hovered about the student's chamber ; and 
his wild songs were sung by a voice, which Nature had made even 
sweeter than his own. 

Alice's talent for music was indeed surprising ; enthusiastic and 
quick as he himself was in all he undertook, Maltravers was amazed 
at her rapid progress. He soon taught her to play by ear; and 
Maltravers could not but notice that her hand f always delicate in 
shape, had lost the rude colour and roughness of labour. He thought 
of that pretty hand more often than he ought to have done, and 
guided it over the keys, when it could have found its way very well 
without him. 

On coming to the cottage, he had directed the old servant to pro- 
vide suitable and proper clothes for Alice ; but now that she was ad- 
mitted "to sit with the gentleman," the crone had the sense, without 
waiting for new orders, to buy the " pretty young woman " garments, 
still indeed simple, but of better materials, and less rustic fashion ; 
and Alice's redundant tresses were now carefully arranged into orderly 
and glossy curls, and even the texture was no longer the same ; and 
happiness and health bloomed on her downy cheeks, and smiled from 
the dewy lips, which never quite closed over the fresh white teeth, 
except when she was sad ;— -but that seemed never, now she was not 
banished from Maltravers. 

To say nothing of the unusual grace and delicacy of Alice's form 
and features, there is nearly always something of Nature's own gen- 
tility in very young women (except, indeed, when they get together 
r»nd fall a-giggling) ; it shames us men to see how much sooner they 
are polished into conventional shape, than our rough, masculine angles. 
A vulgar boy requires, Heaven knows what assiduity, to move three 
steps — I do not say like a gentleman, but like a body that has a soul 
in it ; but give the least advantage of society or tuition to a peasant 
girl, and a hundred to one but she will glide into refinement before 
the boy can make a bow without upsetting the table. There is sen- 
timent in all women, and sentiment gives delicacy to thought, and 
"tact to manner. But sentiment with men is generally acquired, an 
offspring of the intellectual quality, not, as with the other sex, of the 
moral. 

In the course of his musical and vocal lessons, Maltravers gently 
took the occasion to correct poor Alice's frequent offences against 
grammar and accent ; and her memory was prodigiously quick and 
retentive. The very tones of her voice seemed altered in the ear of 

c -2 



20 ERNEST MA1TBAVEBS, 

Maltravers - } and, somehow or other, the time came when he was no 
longer sensible of the difference in their rank. 

The old woman-servant, when she had seen how it would be from 
the first, and taken a pride in her own prophecy, as she ordered Alice's 
new dresses, was a much better philosopher than Maltravers; thougn 
he was already up to his ears in the moonlit abyss of Plato ; and had 
filled a dozen common-place books with criticisms on K.ani. 



CHAPTER U. 

" Young man, I fear thy blood is rosy Tea, 
Thy heart is soft." 

D'Aguilar's Fresco, Act ill. So I. 

As education does not consist in reading and writing only, so Alice, 
while still very backward in those elementary arts, forestalled some 
of their maturest results in her intercourse with Maltravers. Before 
the inoculation took effect, she caught knowledge in the natural way. 
Por the refinement of a graceful mind and a happy manner is very 
contagious. And Maltravers was encouraged by her quickness in 
music to attempt such instruction in other studies as conversation 
could afford. It is a better school than parents and masters think for : 
there was a time when all information was given orally ; and probably 
the Athenians learned more from hearing Aristotle, than we do from 
reading him. It was a delicious revival of Academe — in the walks, 
or beneath the rustic porticoes of that little cottage — the romantic 
philosopher and the beautiful disciple ! And his talk was much like 
that of a sage of the early world, with some wistful and earnest savage 
for a listener : of the stars and their courses — of beasts, and birds, 
and fishes, and plants, and flowers — the wide family of Nature — of the 
beneficence and power of God— of the mystic and spiritual history 
of Man. 

Charmed by her attention and docility, Maltravers at length diverged 
from lore into poetry ; he would repeat to her the simplest and most 
natural passages he could remember in his favourite poets ; he would 
himself compose verses elaborately adapted to her understanding; she 
liked the last the best, and learned them the easiest. Never had young 
poet a more gracious inspiration, and never did this inharmonious 
world more complacently resolve itself into soft dreams, as if to 
humour the novitiate of the victims it must speedily take into its joy- 
less priesthood. And Alice had now quietly and insensibly carved 
out her own avocations— the tenor of her service. The plants in 
the conservatory had passed under her care, and no one else was 
privileged to touch Maftraver's books, or arrange the sacred litter of 
a student's apartment. When he came down in the morning, or re- 
turned from his walks, everything was in order, yet by a kind of 
magic, just as he wished it ; the flowers he loved best bloomed, fresh- 
gathered, on his table; the very position of the large chair, just m 



ERNEST SLilTRAVEUS. 21 

lhat corner by the fireplace, whence on entering the room, its hos- 
pitable arms opened with the most cordial air of welcome, bespoke 
the presiding genius of a woman ; and then, precisely as the clock 
t-truck eight, Alice entered, so pretty and smiling, and happy-looking, 
that it was no wonder the single hour at first allotted to her extended 
into three. 

Was Alice in love with Maltravers ? — She certainly did not exhibit 
the symptoms in the ordinary way — she did not grow more reserved, 
md agitated, and timid — there was no worm in the bud of her damask 
cheek ; nay, though from the first she had been tolerably bold, she 
was more free and confidential, more at her ease every day ; in fact 
she never for a moment suspected that she ought to be otherwise ; 
she had not the conventional and sensitive delicacy of girls, who, 
whatever their rank of life, have been taught that there is_ a mystery 
and a peril in love; she had a vague idea about girls going wrong, 
but she did not know that love had anything to do with it ; on the 
contrary, according to her father, it had connection with money, not 
love ; all that she felt was so natural, and so very sinless. Could she 
help being so delighted to listen to him, and so grieved to depart ? 
What thus she felt she expressed, no less simply and no less guile- 
lessly: and the candour sometimes completely blinded and misled 
him. Xo, she could not be in love, or she could not so frankly own 
that she loved him — it was a sisterly and grateful sentiment. 

" The dear girl — I am rejoiced to think so," said Maltravers to him- 
self • " I knew there would be no danger." 

W as he not in love himself ? — the reader must decide. 

" Alice," said Maltravers, one evening, after along pause of thought 
and abstraction on his side, while she was unconsciously practising 
her last lesson on the piano — ■" Alice, — no, don't turn round — sit where 
you are, but listen to me. We cannot live always in this way." 

Alice was instantly disobedient — she did turn round, and those great 
blue eyes were fixed on his own with such anxiety and alarm, that he 
had no resource but to get up and look round for the meerschaum. But 
Alice, who divined by an instinct his lightest wish, brought it to him, 
while he was yet hunting, amidst the further corners of the room, in 
places where it was certain not to be. There it was, already filled 
with the fragrant Salonica, glittering with the gilt pastile, which, not- 
too healthfully, adulterates the seductive weed, with odours that 
pacify the repugnant censure of the fastidious — for Maltravers was 
an epicurean even in his worst habits ; — there it was, I say, in that 
pretty hand which he had to touch as he took it ; and while he lit 
jhe weed, he had again to blush and shrink beneath those great 
blue eyes. 

"Thank you, Alice," he said; "thank you. Do sit down — there — 
out of the draught. I am going to open the window, the night is so 
lovely." 

_ He opened the casement, overgrown with creepers, and the moon- 
light lay fair and breathless upon the smooth lawn. The calm and 
holiness of the night soothed and elevated his thoughts, he had cut 
himself off from the eyes of Alice, and he proceeded with a firm, 
though gentle voice : — 



ii J£ftNEST MALTKAVEKS. 

" My dear Alice, we cannot always live together in this way ; you 
are now wise enough to understand me, so listen patiently. A young 
woman never wants a fortune so long as she has a good character ; 
she is always poor and despised without one. Now, a good character 
in this world is lost as much by imprudence as guilt ; and if you were 
to live with me much longer, it would be imprudent, and your character 
would suffer so much that you would not be able to make your own 
way in the world ; far, then, from doing you a service, I should have. 
done you a deadly injury, which I could not atone for : besides, Heaven 
knows what may happen worse than imprudence ; for, I am very sorrj 
to say," added Maltravers, with great gravity, "that you are much tod 
pretty and engaging to — to — in short, it won't do. I must go home; 
my friends will have a right to complain of me, if I remain thus lost 
to them many weeks longer. And you, my dear Alice, are now suffi- 
ciently advanced to receive better instruction than I or Mr. 
Simcox can give you. I therefore propose to place you in some re- 
spectable family, where you will have more comfort, and a higher 
station than you have here. You can finish your education, and in- 
stead of being taught, you will be thus enabled to become a teacher 
to others. With your beauty, Alice" (and Maltravers sighed), " and 
natural talents, and amiable temper, you have only to act well and 
prudently, to secure at last a worthy husband and a happy home. 
Have you heard me, Alice! Such is the plan I have formed for 
you." 

The young man thought as he spoke, with honest kindness and 
upright honour; it was a bitterer sacrifice than perhaps the reader 
thinks for. But Maltravers, if he had an impassioned, had not a 
selfish, heart ; and he felt, to use his own expression, more emphatic 
than eloquent, that "it would not do," to live any longer alone with 
this beautiful girl, like the two children, whom the good Fairy kept 
safe from sin and the world in the Pavilion of Roses. 

But Alice comprehended neither the danger to herself, nor the 
temptations that Maltravers, if he could not resist, desired to shun. 
She rose, pale and trembling — approached Maltravers, and laid her 
hand gently on his arm. 

" I will go away, when and where you wish— the sooner the better 
—to-morrow — yes, to-morrow ; you are ashamed of poor Alice ; and it 
has been very silly of me to be so happy." (She struggled with her 
emotion for a moment, and went on.) " You know Heaven can hear 
me, even when I am away from you, and when I know more I can 
pray better; and Heaven will bless you, sir, and make you happy, for 
I never can pray for anything else." 

With these words she turned away, and walked proudly towards 
the door. But when she reached the threshold, she stopped and 
looked round, as if to take a last farewell. All the associations and 
memories of that beloved spot rushed upon her — she gasped for breath, 
— tottered, — and fell to the ground insensible. 

Maltravers was already by her side j he lifted her light weight in 
his arms ; he uttered wild and impassioned exclamations — " Alice, be- 
loved Alice — forgive me ; we will never part ! " He chafed her hands 
in his own, while her head lay on his bosom, and he kissed again and 



EllNEST MALTRAVERS. 23 

again those beautiful eyelids, till they opened slowly upon him, and 
the tender arms tightened round him involuntarily. 

"Alice," he whispered — "Alice, dear Alice, 1 love thee." Alas, 
it was true: he loved — and forgot all but that love. He was 
eighteen. 



CHAPTER Vn. 

" How like a younker or a prodigal, 
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay ! " 

Merchant of Venice. 

We are apt to connect the voice of Conscience with the stillness ot 
midnight. But I think we wrong that_ innocent hour. It is that 
terrible '' next moening," when reason is wide awake, upon which 
remorse fastens its fangs. Has a man gambled away his all, or shot 
his friend in a duel — has he committed a crime, or incurred a laugh — 
it is the next morning, when the irretrievable Past rises before him 
like a spectre ; then doth the churchyard of memory yield up its 
grisly dead — then is the witching hour when the foul fiend within us 
can least tempt perhaps, but most torment. At night we have one 
thing to hope for, one refuge to fly to — oblivion and sleep ! But at 
morning, sleep is over, and we are called upon coldly to review, and 
re- act, and live again the waking bitterness of self-reproach. Mal- 
travers rose a penitent and unhappy man — remorse was new to him, 
and he felt as if he had committed a treacherous and fraudulent as 
well as guilty deed. This poor girl, she was so innocent, so confiding, 
so unprotected, even by her own sense of right. He went downstairs 
listless and dispirited. He longed yet dreaded to encounter Alice. 
He heard her step in the conservatory — paused, irresolute, and at 
length joined her. Por the first time she blushed and trembled, and 
her eyes shunned his. But when he kissed her hand in silence, she 
whispered, " And am I now to leave you ? " And Maltravers answered 
fervently, "Never !" and then her face grew so radiant with joy, that 
Maltravers was comforted despite himself. Alice knew no remorse, 
though she felt agitated and ashamed ; as she had not comprehended 
the danger, neither was she aware of the fall. In fact, she never 
thought of herself. Her whole soul was with him ; she gave him back 
in love the spirit she had caught from him in knowledge. 

And they strolled together through the garden all that day, and 
Maltravers grew reconciled to himself. He had done wrong, it is 
true ; but then perhaps Alice had already suffered as much as she 
could in the world's opinion, by living with him alone, though in- 
nocent, so long. And now she had an everlasting claim to his pro- 
tection — she should never know shame or want. And the love that 
had led to the wrong, should, by fidelity and devotion, take from i* 
the character of sin. 



24 ERNEST MAT.TRAVEHS. 

Natural and commonplace sophistries ! L'homme se pique ! as old 
Montaigne said ; Man is his own sharper ! The conscience is the 
most elastic material in the world. To-day you cannot stretch it over 
a mole-hill, to-morrow it hides a mountain. 

how happy they were now— that young pair! How the days flew 
like dreams! Time went on, winter passed away, and the early spring, 
with its flowers and sunshine, was like a mirror to their own youth. 
Alice never accompanied Maltravers in his walks abroad, partly be- 
cause she feared to meet her father, and partly because Maltravers 
himself was fastidiously averse to all publicity. But then they had 
all that little world of three acres — lawn and fountain, shrubbery and 
terrace, to themselves, and Alice never asked if there was any other 
world without. She was now quite a scholar, as Mr. Simcox himself 
averred. She could read aloud and fluently to Maltravers, and copied 
out his poetry in a small, fluctuating hand, and he had no longer to 
chase throughout his vocabulary for short Saxon monosyllables to 
make the bridge of intercourse between their ideas. Eros and Psyche 
are ever united, and Love opens all the petals of the soul. On one 
subject alone, Maltravers was less eloquent than of yore. He had not 
succeeded as a moralist, and he thought it hypocritical to preach 
what he did not practise. But Alice was gentler and purer, and as 
far as she knew, sweet fool ! better than ever— she had invented a 
new prayer for herself; and she prayed as regularly and as fervently 
as if she were doing nothing amiss. But the code of heaven is 
gentler than that of earth, and does not declare that ignorance 
excuseth not the crime. 



CHAPTER VHI. 

" Some clouds sweep on as vultures for their prey. 
***** 

No azure more shall rohe the firmament, 
Nor spangled stars be glorious." 

Byron, Heaven and Earth. 

It was a lovely evening in April, the weather was unusually mild and 
serene for the time of the year, in the northern districts of our isle, 
and the bright drops of a recent shower sparkled upon the buds of 
the lilac and laburnum that clustered round the cottage of Maltravers. 
The little fountain that played in the centre of a circular basin, on 
whose clear surface the broad-leaved water-lily cast its fairy shadow, 
added to the fresh green of the lawn ; — 

" And softe as velvet the yonge grass," 

on which the rare and early flowers were closing their heavy lids. 
That twilight shower had given a racy and vigorous sweetness to the 
air which stole over many a bank of violets, and slightly stirred the 
golden ringlets of Alice as she sat by the side of her entranced and 
silent lover.— They were seated on rustic bench just without the 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 2D 

cottage, and the open windows behind them admitted the view of 
that happy room — with its litter of books and musical instruments — 
eloquent of the Poetry of Home. 

Maltravers was silent, for his flexile and excitable fancy was con- 
juring up a thousand shapes along the transparent air, or upon those 
shadowy violet banks. He was not thinking, he was imagining. His 
genius reposed dreamily upon the calm, but exquisite sense of his 
happiness. Alice was not absolutely in his thoughts, but unconsciously 
she coloured them all — if she had left his side, the whole charm would 
have been broken. ±5ut Alice, who was not a poet or a genius, was 
thinking, and thinking only of Maltravers. . . His image was "the 
broken mirror " multiplied in a thousand faithful fragments over 
everything fair and soft in that lovely microcosm before her. But 
they were both alike in one thing — they were not with the Future, 
they were sensible of the Present — the sense of the actual life, the 
enjoyment of the breathing time, was strong within them. Such is 
the privilege of the extremes of our existence — Youth and Age. 
Middle life is never with to-day, its home is in to-morrow . 
anxious, and scheming, and desiring, and wishing this plot ripened 
and that hope fulfilled, while every wave of the forgotten Time brings 
it nearer and nearer to the end of all things. Half our life is 
consumed in longing to be nearer death. 

" Alice," said Maltravers, waking at last from his reverie, and 
drawing that light, childlike form nearer to him, " you enjoy this hour 
as much as I do." 

"Oh, much more !" 

" More ! and why so ? " 

" Because I am thinking of you, and perhaps you are not thinking 
of yourself." 

Maltravers smiled and stroked those beautiful ringlets, and kissed 
that smooth, innocent forehead, and Alice nestled herself i;i ids breast. 

"How young you look by this light, Alice!" said he, tenderly 
looking down. 

"Would you love me less if I were old ? " asked Alice. 

" I suppose I should never have loved you in the same way, if ycu 
had been old when I first saw you." 

" Yet I am sure I should have felt the same for you if you had 
been — oh ! ever so old ! " 

"What, with wrinkled cheeks, and palsied head, and a brown wig 
and no teeth, like Mr. Simcox ? " 

" Oh, but you could never be like that ! You would always loo 
young — your heart would be always in your face. That dear smile— 
ah. you would look beautiful to the last ! " 

"But Simcox, though not very lovely now, has been, I dare say, 
handsomer than I am, Alice ; and I shall be contented to look as well 
when I am as old ! " 

"I should never know you were old, beeause 1 can see you just as 
I please. Sometimes, when you are thoughtful, your brows meet, 
and you look so stern that I tremble ; but then I think of you when 
you last smiled, and look up again, and though you are frowning still, 
you seem to smile. I am sure you are different to other eyes than. 



26 ERNEST MALTEAVEUS. 

to miie. . and tune must kill me before, in my sight, it coxud 
alter you?' 

" Sweet Alice, you talk eloquently, for you talk love." 

" My heart talks to you. Ah ! I wish it could say all it felt. I 
wish it could make poetry like you, or that words were music — I 
would never speak to you in anything else. I was so delighted to 
learn music, because when I played I semed to be talking to you. I 
am sure that whoever invented music did it because he loved dearly 
and wanted to say so. I said ' he' but I think it was a woman. 
Was it?" 

" The Greeks I told you of, and whose life was music, thought it 
was a god." 

" Ah, but you say the Greeks made Love a god. Were they wicked 
for it?" 

" Our own God above is Love," said Ernest, seriously, " as our 
own poets have said and sung. But it is a love of another nature 
-^divine, not human. Come, we will go within, the air grows cold 
for you." 

They entered, his arm round her waist. The room smiled upon 
them its quiet welcome ; and Alice, whose heart had not half vented 
its fulness, sat down to the instrument still to " talk love" in her own 
way. 

But it was Saturday evening. Now every Saturday, Maltravers 
received from the neighbouring town the provincial newspaper — it 
was his only medium of communication with the great world. But 
it was not for that communication that he always seized it with 
avidity, and fed on it with interest. The county in which his father 
resided bordered on the shire in which Ernest sojourned, and the 
paper included the news of that familiar district in its comprehensive 
columns. It therefore satisfied Ernest's conscience and soothed his 
filial anxieties to read from time to time, that " Mr. Maltravers was 
entertaining a distinguished party of friends at his noble mansion of 
Lisle Court;" or that "Mr. Maltravers' foxhounds had met on such 
a day at something copse ;" or that " Mr. Maltravers, with his usual 
munificence, had subscribed twenty guineas to the new county gaol." 
. . ._ And as now Maltravers saw the expected paper laid beside the 
hissing urn, he seized it eagerly, tore the envelope, and hastened to 
the well-known corner appropriated to the paternal district. The 
very first words that struck his eyes were these : — 

"aLAKHING ILLNESS OP MB. MA1TBAVERS. 

"We regret to state that this exemplary and distinguished gentle- 
jian was suddenly seized on Wednesday night with a severe spasmodic 

affection. Dr. ■ was immediately sent for, who pronounced it to 

be gout in the stomach — the first medical assistance from London has 
been summoned. 

"Postcript.— We have just learned, in answer to our inquiries at 
Lisle Court, that the respected owner is considerably worse : but 
slight hopes are entertained of his recovery. Captain Maltravers, his 
eldest son a»d heir, is at Lisle Court. An express has been des- 



BRNEST MA1TRAVEES. 27 

patcked in search of Mr. Ernest Maltravers, who, involved by his high 
English spirit in some dispute with the authorities of a despotic 
government, had suddenly disappeared from Gottingen, where his ex- 
traordinary talents had highly distinguished him. He is supposed 
to be staying at Paris." 

The paper dropped on the floor. Ernest threw himself back on the 
chair ? and covered his face with his hands. 

Alice was beside him in a moment. He looked up, and caught her 
wistful and terrified gaze. " Oh, Alice ! " he cried, bitterly, and 
almost pushing her away, " if you could but guess my remorse ! " 
Then springing on his feet, he hurried from the room. 

Presently the whole house was in commotion. The gardener, who 
was always in the house about supper-time, flew to the town for post- 
horses. The old woman was in cfespair about the laundress, for her 
first and only thought was for " master's shirts." Ernest locked 
himself in his room. Alice ! poor Alice ! 

In little more than twenty minutes, the chaise was at the door : 
and Ernest, pale as death, came into the room where he had left 
Alice. 

She was seated on the floor, and the fatal paper was on her lap. 
She had been endeavouring, in vain, to leam what had so sensibly 
affected Maltravers, for, as I said before, she was unacquainted with 
his real name, and therefore the ominous paragraph did not even 
arrest her eye. 

He took the paper from her, for he wanted again and again to read 
it : some little word of hope or encouragement must have escaped 
him. And then Alice flung herself on his breast. " Do not weep," 
said he ; " Heaven knows I have sorrow enough of my own ! My 
hither k dying! So kind, so generous, so indulgent! O God, 
forgive me ! Compose yourself, Alice. You will hear from me in a 
day or two." 

He kissed her ; but the kiss was cold and forced. He hurried 
away. She heard the wheels grate on the pebbles. She rushed to 
the window : but that beloved face was not visible. Maltravers had 
drawn the blinds, and thrown himself back to indulge his grief. A 
moment more, and even the vehicle that bore him away was gone. 
And before her were the flowers, and the starlit lawn, and the playful 
fountain, and the bench where they had sat in such heartfelt and 
serene delight. He was gone : and often,— -oh, how often, did Alice 
remember that his last words had been uttered in estranged tones— 
that his last embrace had been without love ! 



CHAPTER H. 

" Thy due from me 
Is tears : and heavy sorrows of the blood, 
Which nature, love, and filial tenderness, 
Shall, O dear father, pay thee plenteously ! " 

Second Part of Henry IV., Act iv. So. 4. 

It was late at night wnen the chaise that bore Maltravers stopped 
at the gates of a park lodge. It seemed an age before the peasant 
within was aroused from the deep sleep of labour-loving health. "My 
father," he cried, while the gate creaked on its hinges ; " my father — 
is he better ? Is he alive ? " 

"Oh, bless your heart, Master Ernest, the 'squire was a little 
better this evening." 

" Thank heaven ! On— on ! " 

The horses smoked and galloped along a road that wound through 
venerable and ancient groves. The moonlight slept soft upon the 
sward, and the cattle, disturbed from their sleep, rose lazily up, and 
gazed upon the unseasonable intruder. 

It is a -wild and weird scene, one of those noble English parks at 
midnight, with its rough forest-ground broken into dell and valley, 
its never-innovated and mossy grass, overrun with fern, and its imme- 
morial trees, that have looked upon the birth, and look yet upon the 
graves, of a hundred generations. Such spots are the last proud and 
melancholy trace of Norman knighthood and old romance, left to the 
laughing landscapes of cultivated England. They always throw some- 
thing of shadow and solemn gloom upon minds that feel their associa- 
tions, like that which belongs to some ancient and holy edifice. 
They are the cathedral aisles of Nature, with their darkened vistas, 
•mi columned trunks, and arches of mighty foliage. But in ordinary 
-Sines the gloom is pleasing, and more delightful than all the cheerful 
'awns and sunny slopes of the modern taste. Now to Maltravers it 
gas ominous and oppressive : the darkness of death seemed brooding 
n every shadow, and its warning voice moaning in every breeze. 

The wheels stopped again. Lights flitted across the basement 
story ; and one above, more dim than the rest, shone palely from the 
room in which the sick man slept. The bell rang shrilly out from 
amidst the dark ivy that clung around the porch. The heavy door 
swung back — Maltravers was on the threshold. His father u ved — 
was better — was awake. The son was in the father's arms. 



CHAPTER X. 

" The guardian oak 
mourned o'er the roof it shelter'd : the thick air 
Labour'd with doleful sounds." 

Elliott of Sheffield. 

Many days had passed, and Alice was still alone; but she had beam 
twice from Maltravers. The letters were short and hurried. One time 
his father was better, and there were hopes; another time, and it was 
not expected that he could survive the week. They were the first letters 
Alice had ever received from him. Those jirst letters are an event in a 
girl's life — in Alice's life they were a verymelancholy one. Ernest did not 
ask her to write to him ; in fact, he felt, at such an hour, a repugnance 
to disclose his real name, and receive the letters of clandestine love in 
the house in which a father lay in death. He might have given the 
feigned address he had previously assumed, at some distant post-town, 
where his person was not known. But, then, to obtain such letters, 
he must quit his father's side for hours. The thing was impossible. 
These difficulties Maltravers did not explain to Alice. 

She thought it singular he did not wish to hear from her ; but Alice 
was humble. What could she say worth troubling him with, and at 
such an hour ? But how kind in him to write ! how precious those 
letters ! and yet they disappointed her, and cost her jfloods of tears : 
they were so short — so full of sorrow — there was so little love in. 
them; and "dear," or even "dearest Alice," that uttered by the voice 
was so tender, looked cold upon the lifeless paper. If she but knew 
the exact spot where he was, it would be some comfort ; but she only 
knew that he was away, and in grief; and though he was little more 
than thirty miles distant, she felt as if immeasurable space divided 
them. However, she consoled herself as she could : and strove to 
shorten the long miserable day by playing over all the airs he liked, 
and reading all the passages he had commended. She should be so 
improved when he returned ; and now lovely the garden would look '. 
for every day its trees and bosquets caught a new smile from the 
deepening spring. Oh, they would be so happy once more ! Alice 
now learned the life that lies in the future ; and her young heart 
had not, as yet, been taught that of that future there is any prophet 
but Hope ! 

Maltravers, on quitting the cottage had forgotten that Alice was 
without money, and now that he found his stay would be indefinitely 
prolonged, he sent a remittance. Several bills were unpaid — some 



portion of the rent was due ; and Alice, as she was desired, intrusted 
the old servant with a bank note, with which she was to discharge 
these petty debts. One evening, as she brought Alice the surplus, 
the good, dame seemed greatly discomposed. She was pale ana agi- 
tated ; or, as she expressed it, " had a terrible fit of the shakes," 



30 ERNEST MALTRAYERS. 

" What is the matter, Mrs. Jones ? you have no news of hint — of— 
of my — of your master ? " 

" Dear heart, miss — no," answered Mrs. Jones ; " how should I ? 
But I'm sure I don't wish to frighten you ; there has been two sitch 
robberies in the neighbourhood? " 

" 0, thank Heaven, that's all ! " exclaimed Alice. 

" 0, don't go for to thank Heaven for that, miss ; it's a shocking 
thing for two lone females like us, and them ere windows all open to 
the ground ! You sees, as I was taking the note to be changed at Mr. 
Harris's, the great grocer's shop, where all the poor folk was a buying 
agin to-morrow " (for it was Saturday night, the second Saturday after 
Ernest's departure ; from that hegira Alice dated all her chronology), 
" and everybody was a talking about the robberies last night. La, 
miss, they bound old Betty — you know Betty — a most respectable 
'oman, who has known sorrows, and drinks tea with me once a week. 
"Well, miss, they (only think!) bound Betty to the bedpost, with 
nothing on her but her shift — poor old soul ! And as Mr. Harris 
gave me the change (please to see, miss, it's all right), and I asked for 
half gould, miss, it's more convenient, sitch an ill-looking fellow was 
by me, a buying o' baccy, and he did so stare at the money, that I 
vows I thought he'd have rin away with it from the counter ; so I 
grabbled it up and went away. But, would you believe, miss, just as 
I got into the lane, afore you turns through the gate, I chanced to 
look back, and there, sure enough, was that ugly fellow close behind, 
a running like mad. 0, 1 set up such a skreetch; and young Dob- 
bins was a taking his cow out of the field, and he perked up over the 
hedge when he heard me ; and the cow, too, with her horns, Lord 
bless her ! So the fellow stopped, and I bustled through the gate, 
and got home. But la, miss, if we are all robbed and murdered ? " 

Alice had not heard much of this harangue; but what she did 
hear, very slightly affected her strong, peasant-born nerves ; not half 
so much, indeed, as the noise Mrs. Jones made in double-locking all 
the doors, and barring, as well as a peg and a rusty inch of chain would 
allow, all the windows — which operation occupied at least an hour 
and a half. 

All at last was still. Mrs. Jones had gone to bed — in the arms of 
sleep she had forgotten her terrors — and Alice had crept upstairs, and 
undressed, and said her prayers, and wept a little ; and, with the tears 
yet moist upon her dark eyelashes, had glided into dreams of Ernest. 
Midnight was passed — the stroke of One sounded unheard from the 
clock at the foot of the stairs. The moon was gone — a slow, drizzling 
rain was falling upon the flowers, and cloud and darkness gathered fast 
and thick around the sky. 

About this time, a low, regular, grating sound commenced at the 
thin shutters of the sitting-room below, preceded by a very faint noise, 
like the tinkling of small fragments of glass on the gravel without. 
At length it ceased, and the cautious and partial gleam of a lanthorn 
fell along the floor; another moment, and two men stood in the 
room. 

" Hush, Jack ! " whispered one ; " hang out the glim, and let's look 
about us." 



EllNEST MALTKAVEIIS. 31 

f he davk-lanthom, now fairly unmuffled, presented to the gaze of 
the robbers nothing that could gratify their cupidity. Books and music, 
chairs, tables, carpet, and fire-irons, though valuable enough in a 
house-agent's inventory, are worthless to the eyes of a housebreaker. 
They muttered a mutual curse. 

" Jack," said the former speaker, " we must make a dash at the 
spoons and forks, and then hey for the money. The old girl had thirty 
shiners, besides flimsies." 

The accomplice nodded consent ; the lanthorn was again partially 
shaded, and with noiseless and stealthy steps the men quitted the 
apartment. Several minutes elapsed, when Alice was awakened from 
her slumber by a loud scream : she started, all was again silent : she 
must have dreamt it: her little heart beat violently at first, but 
gradually regained its tenor. She rose, however, and the kindness 
of her nature being more susceptible than her fear — she imagined 
Mrs. Jones might be ill — she would go to her. With this idea she 
began partially dressing herself, when she distinctly heard heavy 
footsteps and a strange voice in the room beyond. She was now 
thoroughly alarmed — her first impulse was to escape from the house — 
her next to bolt the door, and call aloud for assistance. But who 
would hear her cries ? Between the two purposes, she halted irreso- 
lute . . and remained, pale and trembling, seated at the foot of 
the bed, when a broad light streamed through the chinks of the door 
— an instant more, and a rude hand seized her. 

'"' Come, mem ; don't be fritted, we won't harm you ; but where's 
the gold-dust — where's the money ? — the old girl says you've got it. 
Fork it over." 

" mercy, mercy ! John Walters, is that you ?" 

"Damnation!" muttered the man, staggering back, "so you 
knows me, then : but you shan't peach ; you shan't scrag me, b — t 
you." 

While he spoke, he again seized Alice, held her forcibly down with 
one hand, while with the other he deliberately drew from a side 
pouch a long case-knife. In that moment of deadly peril, the second 
ruffian, who liad been hitherto delayed in securing the servant, rushed, 
forward. He had heard the exclamation of Alice, he heard the threat 
of his comrade ; he darted to the bedside, cast a hurried gaze upon 
Alice, and hurled the intended murderer to the other side of the 
room. 

"What, man, art mad?" he growled between his teeth. "Don't 
you know her ? It is Alice ; — it is my daughter." 

Alice had sprung up when released from the murderer's knife, and 
now, with eyes strained and starting with horror, gazed upon the dark 
and evil face of her deliverer. 

"O God, it is — it is my father !" she muttered, and fell senseless. 

"Daughter or no daughter," said John Walters, "I shall not put 
my scrag in her power ; recollect how she fritted us before, when she 
run awav." 

Darvil stood thoughtful and perplexed — and his associate approached 
doggedly, with a look of such settled ferocity as it was impossible for 
oven Darvil to contemplate without a shudder, 



1i2 EKNEST MAITKAVERS. 

" You say right," muttered the father, after a pause ; but fixing his 
strong gripe on his comrade's shoulder, — "the girl must not be left 
here— tha cart has a covering. We are leaving the country ; I have 
a right to my daughter— she shall go with us. There, man, grab the 
money— it's "on the table; . . you've got the spoons. Now 

then — " as Darvil spoke he seized his daughter in his arms ; threw 
over her a shawl and a cloak that lay at hand, and was already on the 
threshold. 

■' I don't half like it," said Walters, grumblingly— " it been't safe." 

" At least it is as safe as murder ! " answered Darvil, turning round, 
with a ghastly grin. " Make haste." 

When Alice recovered her senses, the dawn was breaking slowly 
rdong desolate and sullen hills. She was lying upon rough straw — the 
curt was joltmg over the ruts of a precipitous, lonely road, — and by 
her side scowled the face of that dreadful fatho*,, 



CHAPTER XI. 

" Yet he beholds her with the eyes of mind — 
He sees the form which he no more shall meet — 
She like a passionate thought is come and gone, 
While at his feet the bright rill bubbles on." 

Elliott of Sheffield. 

It was a little more than three weeks after that fearful night, when 
the chaise of Maltravers stopped at the cottage door — the windows 
were shut up ; no one answered the repeated summons of the post- 
boy. Maltravers himself, alarmed and amazed, descended from the 
vehicle : he was in deep mourning. He went impatiently to the back 
entrance ; that also was locked ; round to the French windows of the 
drawing-room, always hitherto half -opened, even in the frosty days of 
winter, — they were now closed like the rest. He shouted in terror, 
" Alice, Alice !" — no sweet voice answered in breathless joy, no fairy 
step bounded forward in welcome. At this moment, however, ap- 
peared the form of the gardener, coming across the lawn. The tale 
was soon told ; the house had been robbed — the old woman at morn- 
ing found gagged and fastened to her bedpost — Alice flown. A 
magistrate had been applied to, — suspicion fell upon the fugitive. 
None knew anything of her origin or name, not even the old woman. 
Maltravers had naturally and sedulously ordained Alice to preserve 
that secret, and she was too much in fear of being detected and 
claimed by her father, not to obey the injunction with scrupulous 
caution. But it was known, at least, that she had entered the house 
a poor peasant _ girl ; and what more common than for ladies of a 
certain description to run away from their lover, and take some of 
his property by mistake ? _ And a poor girl like Alice, what else could 
be expected? The magistrate smiled, and the constables laughed. 
After all, it was a good joke at the young gentleman's expense ! Per- 



ERNEST MA-L1H.1YVJSK.S. 

haps, as they had no orders from Maltravers, and they did not know 
where to find him, and thought lie would be little inclined to prose- 
cute, the search was not very rigorous. But two houses had been 
robbed the night before. Their owners were more on the alert. 
Suspicion fell upon a man of infamous character, John Walters ; he 
had disappeared from the place. He had been last seen with mi idle, 
drunken fellow, who was said to have known better days, and who at 
one time had been a skilful and well-paid mechanic, till his habits of 
theft and drunkenness threw him out of employ ; and he had been 
since accused of connection with a gang of coiners— tried — and escaped 
from want of sufficient evidence against him. That man was Luke 
Darvil. His cottage was searched ; but he also had lied. The trace 
of cart-wheels by the gate of Maltravers gave a faint clue to pursuit ; 
and after an active search of some days, persons answering to the 
description of the suspected burglars — with a young female in their 
company— were tracked to a small inn, notorious as a resor! for smug- 
glers, by the sea-coast. But there every vestige of their supposed 
whereabouts disappeared. 

And all this was told to the stunned Maltravers ; the garrulity of 
the gardener precluded the necessity of his own inquiries, and the 
name of Darvd explained to him all that was dark to others. And 
Alice was suspected of the basest and the blackest guilt ! Obscure, 
beloved, protected as she had been, she could not escape the calumny 
from which he had hoped everlastingly to shield her. But did lie 
share that hateful thought? Maltravers was too generous and too 
enlightened. 

"I)og !" said he, grinding his teeth, and clenching his hands, at the 
startled menial, " dare to utter a syllable of suspicion against her, and 
1 will trample the breath out of your body !" 

The old woman, who had vowed that for the 'varsal world she would 
not stay in the house after such a "night of shakes," had now learned 
the news of her master's return, and came hobbling up to him. She 
arrived in time to hear his menace to her fellow-servant. 

" Ah, that's right ; give it him, your honour, bless your good heart 
— that's what I says. Miss rob the house ! says I — Miss run away 
no — depend on it they have murdered her, and buried the body." 

Maltravers gasped for breath, but without uttering another word he 
re-entered the chaise and drove to the house of the magistrate. He 
found that functionary a worthy and intelligent man of the world. To 
him he confided the secret of Alice's birth and his own. The magis- 
trate concurred with him in believing that Alice had been discovered 
and removed by her father. New search was made — gold was lavished. 
Maltravers himself headed the search in person. But all came to the 
same result as before, save that by the descriptions he heard of tfcr 
person— the dress— the tears, of the young female who had accom- 
panied the men supposed to be Darv'l and Walters, he was satisfied 
tliat Alice yet lived ; he hoped she might yet escape and return. In 
that hope he lingered for weeks— for months, in the neighbourhood ; 
but time passed and no tidings. . He was forced at length to 

quit a neighbourhood at once so saddened and endeared. But he 
secured a Friend in the magistrate, who promised to communicate w!) .. 



.' ERNEST MALTRAVER5. 

hiin if Alice returned, or her father was discovered. He enriched 
Mrs. Jones for hie, in gratitude for her vindication of his lost and 
early love ; he promised the amplest rewards for the smallest clue. 
And with a crushed and desponding spirit, he obeyed at last the re- 
peated and anxious summons of the guardian to whose care, until 
His majority was attained, the young orphan was now intrusted. 



CHAPTER XH. 

" Sure there are poets that did never dream 
Upon Parnassus." — Denham. 

" Walk soher off, before a sprightlier age 
Come tittering on, and shove you from the stage."— Pope. 

" Hence to repose your trust in me was wise." 

Dhyden's Absalom and Achitophd. 

Mr. Frederick Cleveland, a younger son of the Earl of Byrne- 
ham, and therefore entitled to the style and distinction of 'Honourable,' 
was the guardian of Ernest Maltravers. He was now about the age 
of forty-three ; a man of letters and a man of fashion, if the last half- 
obsolete expression be permitted to us, as being at least more classical 
and definite than any other which modem euphuism has invented to 
convey the same meaning. Highly educated, and with natural abilities 
considerably above mediocrity, Mr. Cleveland early in life had glowed 
with the ambition of an author. He had written well and grace- 

fully — but his success, though respectable, did not satisfy his aspira- 
tions. The fact is, that a new school of literature ruled the public, 
despite the critics — a school very different from that in which Mr. 
Cleveland had formed lus unimpassioned and polished periods. And 
as that old Earl, who in the time of Charles the Eirst was the reigning 
wit of the court, in the time of Charles the Second was considered 
too dull even for a butt, so every age has its own literary stamp and 
coinage, and consigns the old circulation to its shelves and cabinets, 
as neglected curiosities. Cleveland could not become the fashion with 
thepublic as an author, though the coteries cried him up and the 
reviewers adored him — and the ladies of quality and the amateur 
dilettanti bought and bound his volumes of careful poetry and cadenced 

Srose. But Cleveland had high birth and a handsome competence — 
is manners were delightful, his conversation fluent — and his dispo- 
sition was as amiable as his mind was cultured. He became, therefore, 
a man greatly sought after in society — both respected and beloved. 
If he had not genius, lie had great good sense; — he did not vex his 
urbane temper and kindly heart with walking after a vain shadow, 
and dtsnuieting himself in vain. Satisfied with an honourable and 
unenvied reputation, he pave up the dream of that higher fame which 
he clearly saw was denied to his aspi rations— and maintained his good- 
•"■Mour 'with the world, though in his secret soul he thought it was 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. S5 

very wrong in its literary caprices. Cleveland never married: be 
lived partly in town, but, principally at Temple Grove, a villa not far 
from Richmond. Here, with an excellent library, beautiful grounds, 
and a circle of attached and admiring friends, which comprised all the 
more refined and intellectual members of what is termed, by emphasis, 
Good Society— t\\is accomplished and elegant person passed a life, 
perhaps much happier than he would have known had bis young 
visions been fulfilled, and it had become his stormy fate to lead the 
rebellious and fierce Democracy of Letters. 

Cleveland was indeed, if not a man of high and original genius, at 
least, very superior to the generality of patrician authors. In retiring, 
himself, from frequent exercise in the arena, he gave up his mind with 
renewed zest to the thoughts and masterpieces ol others. From a 
well-read man, he became a deeply-instructed one. Metaphysics, and 
some of the material sciences, added new treasures to information 
more light and miscellaneous, and contributed to impart weight and 
dignity to a mind that might otherwise have become somewhat effe- 
minate and frivolous. His social habits, his clear sense, and bene- 
volence of judgment, made him also an exquisite judge of all those 
indefinable nothings or little things, that, formed into a total, become 
knowledge of the Great World. 1 say the Great World — for of the 
world without the circle of the great, Cleveland naturally knew but 
little. But of all that related to that subtle orbit in which gentlemen 
and ladies move in elevated and ethereal order, Cleveland was a pro- 
found philosopher. It was the mode with many of his admirers to 
«=tyle him the Horace Walpole of the day. But though in some of 
the more external and superficial points of character they were alike, 
Cleveland had considerably less cleverness, and infinitely more 
heart. 

The late Mr. Maltravers, a man not indeed of literary habits, 
but an admirer of those who were— an elegant, high-bred, hospitable 
seigneur de province— had. been one of the earliest of Cleveland's 
friends — Cleveland had been his fag at Eton — and he found Hal 
Maltravers — (Handsome Hal !) had become the darling of the clubs, 
when he made his own debut in society. They were inseparable for a 
season or two — and when Mr. Maltravers married, and enamoured of 
country pursuits, proud of his old hall, and sensibly enough con- 
ceiving that he was a greater man in his own broad lands than in the 
republican aristocracy of London, settled peaceably at Lisle Court, 
Cleveland corresponded with him regularly, and visited him twice a 
year. Mrs. Maltravers died in giving birth to Ernest, her second son. 
Her husband loved her tenderly, and was long inconsolable for her 
loss. He could not bear the sight of the child that had cost him so 
dear a sacrifice. Cleveland and his sister, Lady Julia Danvers, were 
residing with him at the time of this melancholy event ; and with 
judicious and delicate kindness, Lady Julia proposed to place the un- 
conscious offender amongst her own cluldren for some months. The 
proposition was accepted, and it was two years before the infant 
Ernest was restored to the paternal mansion. During the greater 
part of that time, he had gone through all the events and revolutions 
of babv life, under the bachelor roof of Frederick Cleveland. The rc- 



36 ERNEST MALTRAVERS, 

suit of this was, tLat the latter loved the child like a father. Ernest's 
first intelligible word bailed Cleveland as "papa;" and when the 
urchin was at length deposited at Lisle Court, Cleveland talked all 
the nurses out of breath with admonitions, and cautions, aud injunc- 
tions, and promises, and threats, which might have put many a care- 
ful mother to the blush. This circumstance formed a new tie between 
Cleveland and his friend. Cleveland's visits were now three times a- 
year, instead of twice. Nothing was done for Ernest without Cleveland's 
advice. He was not even breeched till Cleveland gave his grave consent. 
Cleveland chose his school, and took him to it, — and he spent a week 
of e\ery vacation in Cleveland's house. The boy never got into a 
scrape, or won a prize, or wanted a tij), or coveted a book, but what 
Cleveland was the first to know of it. Fortunately, too, Ernest 
manifested by times tastes which the graceful author thought similar 
to his own. He early developed very remarkable talents, and a love 
for learning — though these were accompanied with a vigour of life 
and soul — an energy — a daring — which gave Cleveland some uneasi- 
ness, and which did not appear to him at all congenial with the moody 
shyness of an embryo genius, or the regular placidity of a precocious 
scholar. Meanwhile the relation between father and son was rather 
a siugular one. Mr. Maltravers had overcome his first, not unnatural, 
repaguance to the innocent cause of his irremediable loss. He was 
now fond and proud of his boy — as he was of all things that belonged 
to him. He spoiled and petted him even more than Cleveland did. 
But he interfered very little with his education or pursuits. His eldest 
sou, Cuthbert, did not engross all his heart, but occupied all his care. 
With Cuthbert he connected the heritage of his ancient name, and 
the succession of his ancestral estates. Cuthbert was not a genius, 
nor intended to be one ; he was to be ai. accomplished gentleman, and 
a great proprietor. The father understood Cuthbert, and could see 
clearly both his character and career He had no scruple in managing 
his education, and forming his growing mind. But Ernest puzzled 
him. Mr. Maltravers was even a little embarrassed in the boy's 
society ; he never quite overcame that feeling of strangeness towards 
him which he had experienced when he first received him back from 
Cleveland, and took Cleveland's directions about his health and so 
forth. _ It always seemed to him as if his friend shared his right to 
the child ; and he thought it a sort of presumption to scold Ernest, 
though he very often swore at Cuthbert. As the younger son grew 
up, it certainly was evident that Cleveland did understand him better 
than his own father did ; and so, as I have before said, on Cleveland 
the father was not displeased passively to shift the responsibility of 
the rearing. 

Perhaps Mr. Maltravers might not have been so indifferent, had 
Ernest's prospects been those of a younger son in general. If a pro- 
fession had been necessary for him, Mr. Maltravers would have been 
naturally anxious to see him duly fitted for it. But from a maternal 
relation, Ernest inherited an estate of about four thousand pounds a 
year ; and he was thus made independent of his fattier. This loosened 
another tie between them ; and so by degrees Mr. Maltravers learned 
•o consider Ernest le»* us Ms own son. to be advised or rebuked, praised 



ERNES'. MALTRATEBS. 37 

or controlled, than as a very affectionate, promising 1 , engaging boy, 
wno, somehow or other, without any trouble on his part, was very 
iikely to do great credit to his family, and indulge his eccentricities 
upon four thousand pounds a year. The first time that Mr. Maltravers 
was seriously perplexed about him was when the boy, at the age of 
sixteen, having taught himself German, and intoxicated his wild 
fancies with " Wcrter," and " The Robbers," announced his desire, 
which sounded very like a demand, of going to Gottingen, instead of 
to Oxford. Never were Mr. Maltravers' notions of a proper and 
gentlemanlike finish to education more completely and rudely assaulted, 
lie stammered out a negative, and hurried to his study to write a 
long letter to Cleveland, who, himself an Oxford prize-man, would, he 
was persuaded, see the matter in the same light. Cleveland answered 
the letter in person : listened in silence to all the father had to say, 
and then strolled through the park with the young man. The result 
of the latter conference was, that Cleveland declared in favour of 
Ernest. 

" But, my dear Frederick," said the astonished father, "I thought 
the boy was to carry off all the prizes at Oxford?" 

" I carried off some, Maltravers ; but I don't see what good they 
did me." 

"O.Cleveland!" 

" I am serious." 

" But it is such a very odd fancy." 

" Your son is a very odd young man." 

" 1 fear he is so — I fear he is, poor fellow ! But what will he learn 
at Gottingen ?" 

" Languages and Independence," said Cleveland. 

" And the classics — the classics — you are such an excellent Gre- 
cian!" 

" There are great Grecians in Germany," answered Cleveland ; 
" and Ernest cannot well unlearn what he knows already. My dear 
Maltravers, the boy is not like most clever young men. _ He must 
either go through action, and adventure, and excitement, in his own 
way, or he will be an idle dreamer, or an impracticable enthusiast all 
bis life. Let him alone. — So Cuthbert is gone into the Guards ?" 

" But he went first to Oxford." 

" Humph ! What a fine young man he is ! " 

" Not so tall as Ernest, but " 

" A handsomer face " said Cleveland. " He is a son to be proud of 

in one way, as I hope Ernest will be in another. Will you show ine 

your new nunter ?" 

****** 

It was to the house of this gentleman, so judiciously made bis 
guardian, that the student of Gottingen now took bis melancholy 
way. 



K&UEGI JIALT.ttAVElUi. 



CHAPTER XHI. 

" But if a little exercise you choose, 

Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden here; 
Amid the groves you may indulge the Muse, 
Or tend the blooms and deck the vernal year." 

Castle of Indolencs. 

The house of Mr. Cleveland was an Italian villa adapted to aa 
English climate. Through an Ionic arch you entered a domain of 
some eighty or a hundred acres in extent, but so well planted and so 
artfully disposed, that you could not have supposed the unseen 
boundaries enclosed no ampler a space. The road wound througli 
the greenest sward, in which trees of venerable growth were relieved 
by a profusion of shrubs, and flowers gathered into baskets inter- 
twined with creepers, or blooming from classic vases, placed with a 
tasteful care in such spots as required the, filling tip, and harmonized 
well with the object chosen. Not an old ivy-grown pollard, not a 
modest and bending willow, but was brought out, as it were, into a 
peculiar feature by the art of the owner. Without being overloaded, 
or too minutely elaborate (the common fault of the rich man's villa), 
the whole place seemed one diversified and cultivated garden ; even 
the air almost took a different odour from different vegetation, with 
each winding of the road ; and the colours of the flowers and foliage 
varied with every view. 

At length, when, on a lawn sloping towards a glassy lake overhung 
by limes and chestnuts, and backed by a hanging wood, the house 
itself came in sight, the whole prospect seemed suddenly to receive its 
Bnishing_ and crowning feature. The house was long and low. A 
deep peristyle that supported the roof extended the whole length, and 
being raised above the basement, had the appearance of a covered 
terrace ; broad flights of steps, with massive balustrades, supporting 
?ases of aloes and orange-trees, led to the lawn ; and under the peris- 
tyle were ranged statues, Roman antiquities, and rare exotics. On 
this side the lake another terrace, very broad, and adorned, at long 
intervals, with urns and sculpture, contrasted the shadowy and sloping 
8ank beyond ; and commanded, through unexpected openings in the 
frees, extensive views of the distant landscape, with the stately 
Thames winding througli the midst. The interior of the house cor- 
responded with the taste without. All the principal rooms, even 
•.hose appropriated to sleep, ■ were on the same floor. A small but 
lofty and octagonal hall, conducted to a suite of ftur rooms. At one 
extremity was a moderately-sized dining-room, with a ceiling copied 
from the rich and gay colours of Guido's "Hours;" and landscapes 
painted by Cleveland himself, with no despicable skill, were let into 
the walls. A single piece of sculpture, copied from the Piping Faun, 
and tinged with a fleshlike glow by purple and orange draperies 



EllNEST MALl'UAVEKS 39 

beliind it, relieved without darkening the broad and arched window 
which formed its niche. This communicated with a small picture- 
room, not indeed rich with those immortal gems for which princes are 
candidates : for Cleveland's fortune was but that of a private gentle- 
man, though, managed with a discreet if liberal economy, it sufficed 
for all his elegant desires. _ But the pictures had an interest beyond, 
that of art, and their subjects were within the reach of a collector of' 
ordinary opulence. They made a series of portraits — some originals, 
some copies (and the copies were often the best) of Cleveland's 
favourite authors. And it was characteristic of the man, that Pope's 
worn and thoughtful countenance looked down from the central place 
of honour. Appropriately enough, this room led into the library, the 
largest room in the house, the only one indeed that was noticeable 
from its size, as well as its embellishments. It was nearly sixty feet 
in length. The bookcases were crowned with bronze busts, while at 
intervals, statues, placed in open arches, backed with mirrors, gave 
the appearance of galleries, opening from the book-lined walls, and 
introduced an inconceivable arr of classic lightness and repose into 
the apartment ; with these arches the windows harmonisedso well, 
opening on the peristyle, and bringing into delightful view the 
sculpture, the flowers, the ten-aces, and the lake without, that the 
actual prospects half seduced you into the belief that they were 
designs Dy some master-hand of the poetical gardens that yet crown 
the hills of Rome. Even the colouring of the prospects on a sunny 
day favoured the delusion, owing to the deep, rich hues of the simple 
draperies, and the stained glass of which the upper panes of the win- 
dows were composed. Cleveland was especially fond of sculpture : 
he was sensible, too, of the mighty impulse which that art has received 
in Europe within the last half century. He was even capable of 
asserting the doctrine, not yet sufficiently acknowledged in this 
country, that Flaxman surpassed Canova. He loved sculpture, too, 
not only for its own beauty, but for the beautifying and intellectual 
effect that it produces wherever it is admitted. It is a great mistake, 
he was wont to say, in collectors of statues, to arrange thempele-mele 
in one long monotonous gallery. The single relief, or statue, or bust, 
or simple urn, introduced appropriately in the smallest apartment we 
inhabit, charms us infinitely more than those gigantic museums, 
crowded into rooms never entered but for show, and without a chill, 
uncomfortable shiver. Besides, this practice of galleries, which the 
herd consider orthodox, places sculpture out of the patronage of the 
public. There are not a dozen people who can afford galleries. But 
every moderately affluent gentleman can afford a statue or a bust. 
The influence, too. upon a man's mind and taste, created by the con- 
stant and habitual view of monuments of the only imperishable art 
which resorts to physical materials, is unspeakable. Looking upon 
the Greek marble, we become acquainted, almost insensibly, with the 
character of the Greek life and literature. That Aristides, that 
Genius of Death, that fragment of the unrivalled Psyche, are worth a 
thousand Scaligcrs ! 

"Do you ever look at theLatintranslationwhenyoureadJilschylus?'* 
said a schoolboy onoe to Cleveland. 



40 EENESX MALTllAVJsKtf. 

"That is my Latin translation," said Cleveland, pointing to the 
Laocoon. 

The library opened, at the extreme end, to a small cabinet for 
curiosities and medals, winch, still in a straight line, conducted to a 
long belvidere, terminating in a little circular summer-house, that by 
a sudden wind of the lake below, hung perpendicularly over its trans- 
parent tide, and, seen from the distance, appeared almost suspended 
on air, so light were its slender columns and arching dsme. Another 
door from the library opened upon a corridor, which conducted to the 
principal sleeping-chambers ; the nearest door was that of Cleveland's 
private study, communicating with his bedroom and dressing-closet. 
The other rooms were appropriated to, and named after, his several 
friends. 

Mr. Cleveland had been advised by a hasty line of the movements 
of his ward, and he received the young man with a smile of welcome, 
though his eyes were moist and his lips trembled — for the boy was 
like his father ! — a new generation had commenced for Cleveland ! 

" Welcome, my dear Ernest," said he ; " 1 am so glad to see you, 
that I will not scold you for your mysterious absence. This is your 
room, you see your name over the door ; it is a larger one than you 
used to have, for you are a man now ; and there is your German 
sanctum adjoining — for Schiller and the meerschaum ! — a bad habit, 
that, the meerschaum ! but not worse than the Schiller, perhaps ! 
You see you are in the peristyle immediately. The meerschaum is 
good for flowers, I fancy, so have no scruple. Why, my dear boy. 
now pale you are ! Be cheered — be cheered. Well, I must go myself, 
or you will infect me." 

Cleveland hurried away; he thought of his lost friend. Ernest 
sank upon the first chair, and buried his face in his hands. Cleveland's 
valet entered, and bustled about and unpacked the portmanteau, and 
arranged the evening dress. But Ernest did not look up nor speak ; 
the first bell sounded ; the second tolled unheard upon his ear. He 
was thoroughly overcome by his emotions. The first notes of 
Cleveland's kind voice had touched upon a soft chord, that months of 
anxiety and excitement had strained to anguish, but had never woke 
to tears. His nerves were shattered — those strong young nerves ! 
He thought of his dead father when he first saw Cleveland ; but when, 
he glanced round the room prepared for him, and observed the care 
forliis comfort, and the tender recollection of his most trifling pecu- 
liarities everywhere visible, Alice, the watchful the humble, the 
loving, the lost Alice, rose before him. Surprised at his ward's 
delay, Cleveland entered the room ; there sat Ernest still, his face 
buried in his hands. Cleveland drew them gently away, and Mal- 
travers sobbed like an infant. It was an easy matter to bring tears to 
the eyes of that young man : a generous or a tender thought, an old 
song, the simplest air of music, sufficed for that touch of the mother's 
nature. But the vehement and awful passion which belongs to man- 
hood when thoroughly unmanned — this was the first time in which 
the reiief of that stormy bitterness was known to him ' 



BRKEST 1IALTHAVKM 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" Musing full sadly in his sullen mind."— Spenser. 

" There forth issued from under the altar-smoke 
A dreadful fiend." — Ibid, on Superstition. 

.Nike times out of ten it is over the Bridge of Sighs that we pass 
ihe narrow gulf from Youth to Manhood. That interval is usually 
Dccupied by an ill-placed or disappointed affection. We recover, and 
we find ourselves a new being. The intellect has become hardened 
by the fire through which it has passed. The mind profits by the 
wrecks of every passion, and we may measure our road to wisdom by 
the sorrows we have undergone. But Maltravers was yet on the 
bridge, and, for a time, both mind and body were prostrate and 
enfeebled. Cleveland had the sagacity to discover that the affections 
had their share in the change that he grieved to witness, but he had 
also the delieaey not to force himself into the young man's confidence. 
But by little and little his kindness so completely penetrated the 
heart of his ward, that Ernest one evening told him his whole tale. 
As a man of the world, Cleveland perhaps rejoiced that it was no 
worse, for he had feared some existing entanglement, perhaps, witha 
married woman. But as a man who was better than the world in 
general, he sympathised with the unfortunate girl whom Ernest pictured 
to him in faithful and unflattered colours, and he long forebore con- 
solations which he foresaw would be unavailing. He felt, indeed, 
that Ernest was not a man " to betray the noon of manhood to a 
myrtle-shade ;" — that with so sanguine, buoyant, and hardy a tem- 
perament, he would at length recover from a depression which, if it 
could bequeath a warning, might as well not be wholly divested of 
remorse. And he also knew that few become either great authors or 
great men (and he fancied Ernest was born to be one or the other), 
without the fierce emotions and passionate struggles, through which 
the Wilhelm Meister of Real Life must work out his apprenticeship, 
and attain the Master-Rank. But at last he had serious misgivings 
about the health of his ward. A constant and spectral gloom seeme 
bearing the young man to the grave. It was in vain that Cleveland 
who secretly desired him to thirst for a public career, endeavoured to 
arouse his ambition — the boy's spirit seemed quite broken — and the 
visit of a political character, the mention of a political work, drove 
him at once into his solitary chamber. At length his mental disease 
took a new turn. He became, of a sudden, most morbidly, and 
fanatically— I was about to say, religious: but that is not the word; 
let me call it pseudo-religious. His strong sense and cultivated taste 
did not allow liim to delight in the raving tracts of illiterate fanatics 
—and yet out of the benign and simple elements of the Scripture, he 
conjured up for himself a fanaticism quite as gloomy and intense. Ha 



42 EllNJLST ilAi,IIiAVERS. 

lost sight of God the Father, and night and day dreamed only of Goa 
the Avenger. His vivid imagination was perverted to raise out of its 
own abyss phantoms of colossal terror. He shuddered aghast at his 
own creations, and earth and heaven alike seemed black with the 
everlasting wrath. These symptoms completely baffled and perplexed 
Cleveland. He knew not what remedy to administer — and to Ids 
uispeakable grief and surprise he found that Ernest, in the true 
spirit of his strange bigotry, began to rega* J Cleveland — the amiable, 
the benevolent Cleveland — as one no less out of the pale of grace than 
himself. His elegant pursuits, his cheerful studies, were considered 
by the young but stern enthusiast, as the miserable recreations of 
Mammon and the world. There seemed every probability that 
Ernest Maltravers would die in a madhouse, or, at best, succeed to 
the delusions, without the cheerful intervals, of Cowper. 



CHAPTER XV. 

" Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit, 
Restless — unfixed ill principles and place." — Drydkn. 

* ' Whoever acquires a very great number of ideas interesting to the society 
in which he lives, will be regarded in that society as a man of abilities." 

Helvetius. 

It was just when Ernest Maltravers was so bad that he could not 
be worse, that a young man visited Temple Grove. The name of this 
young man was Lumley Eerrers, his age about twenty-six, his fortune 
about eight hundred a year — he followed no profession. Lumley 
Eerrers had not what is usually called genius; that is, he had no 
enthusiasm ; and if the word talent be properly interpreted as mean- 
ing the talent of doing something better than others, Eerrers had not 
much to boast of on that score. He had no talent for writing, nor for 
ir.usic, nor painting, nor the ordinary round of accomplishments- 
neither at present had he displayed much of the hard and useful 
talent for action and business. But Eerrers had what is often better 
than either genius or talent; he had a powerful and most acute 
mind. He had, moreover, great animation of manner, high physical 
spirits, a witty, odd, racy vein of conversation, determined assurance, 
and profound confidence in his own resources. He was fond of 
schemes, stratagems, and plots — they amused and excited him — his 
power of sarcasm, and of argument, too, was great, and he usually 
obtainedan astonishing influence over those with whom he was 
brought in contact. His high spirits and a most happy frankness of 
bearing carried off and disguised his leading vices of character, which 
were callousness to whatever was affectionate, and insensibility to 
whatever was moral. Though less learned than Maltravers, he was 
on the whole a very instructed man. He mastered the surface of 
many sciences, became satisfied of their general principles, and threw 
the. study aside never to be forgotteu (lor his memory was like a vice\ 



EIIMKST MALTHA VliKS. 43 

but never to be prosecuted any further. To this he added a genera* 
acquaintance 'With whatever is most generally acknowledged as 
standard in ancient or modern literature. What is admired only by a 
few, Lumlcy never took the trouble to read. _ Living amongst trifles, 
he made them interesting and novel by his mode of viewing and 
treating them. And here indeed was a talent — it was the talent of 
social life — the talent of enjoyment to the utmost with the least 
degree of trouble to himself. Lumley Ferrers was thus exactly one 
of those men whom everybody calls exceedingly clever, and yet it 
would puzzle one to say in wnat he was so clever. It was, indeed, 
that nameless power winch belongs to ability, and which makes one 
man superior, on the whole, to another, though in many details by no 
means remarkable. I think it is Goethe who says somewhere, that, 
in reading tlie life of the greatest genius; we always find that he was 
acquaint ed with some men superior to himself, who yet never attained 
to general distinction. To the class of these mystical superior men, 
Lumley Ferrers might have belonged ; for though an ordinary jour- 
nalist would have beaten him in the arts of composition, few men of 
genius, however eminent, could have felt themselves above Ferrers in 
the ready grasp and plastic vigour of natural intellect. It only 
remains to be said of this singular young man, whose character as yet 
was but half developed, that he had seen a great deal of the world, 
and could live at ease and in content with all tempers and ranks ; fox- 
hunters or scholars, lawyers or poets, patricians or parvenus, it was 
all one to Lumley Ferrers. 

Ernest was, as usual, in his own room, when he heard, along the 
corridor without, all that indefinable bustling noise which announces 
an arrival. Next came a most ringing laugh, and then a sharp, clear, 
vigorous voice, that ran through his cars like a dagger. Ernest was 
immediately aroused to all the majesty of indignant sullenness. He 
walked out on the terrace of the portico, to avoid the repetition of the 
disturbance : and once more settled back into his broken and hypo- 
chondriacal reveries : — Pacing to and fro that part of the peristyle 
which occupied the more retired wing of the nouse, with his arms 
folded, bis eyes downcast, his brows knit, and all the angel darkened 
on that countenance, which fmnerly looked as if, like truth, it could 
shame the devil and defy the world, Ernest followed the evil thought 
that mastered him, through the Valley of the Shadow. Suddenly he 
was aware of something — some obstacle which he had not previously 
encountered. He started, and saw before him a young man, of plain 
iress, gentlemanlike appearance, and striking countenance. 

" Mr. Maltravers, I think," said the stranger, and Ernest recog- 
nised the voice that had so disturbed him : " tliis is lucky ; we can 
now introduce ourselves, for I find Cleveland means us to be intimate. 
Mr. Lumley Ferrers, Mr. Ernest Maltravers. There now, I am the 
elder, so I first offer my hand, and grin properly. People always grin 
when they make a new acquaintance ! Well, that's settled. Which 
way are you walking ! " 

Maltravers could, when he chose it, be as stately as if he had never 
been out of England. He now drew himself up in displeased asto- 
nishment ; extricated his hand from the gripe of Ferrers, and saying, 



44 EE.NEST MALTRAVERS. 

very coldly, " Excuse me, sir, I am busy," stalked back to his chamber. 
He threw himself into his chair, and was presently forgetful of his 
late annoyance, when, to his inexpressible amazement 3nd wrath, he 
'leard again the sharp, clear voice close to his elbow. 

.Ferrers had followed him through the Trench casement into the 
room. " You are busy, you say, my dear fellow. I want to write 
some letters: we shan't interrupt each other — don't disturb your- 
self :" and Ferrers seated himself at the writing-table, dipped a pen 
into the ink, arranged blotting-boqk and paper before him in due order, 
and was soon employed in covering page after page with the most 
rapid and hieroglyphical scrawl that ever engrossed a mistress, or per- 
plexed a dun. 

"The presuming puppy!" growled Maltravers, half audibly, bu* 
effectually roused from himself ; and examining with some curiosity 
so cool an intruder, he was forced to own that the countenance of 
Ferrers was not that of a puppy. 

A forehead compact and solid as a block of granite, overhung small, 
bright, intelligent eyes of a light hazel ; the features were handsome, 
yet rather too sharp and fox-hke ; the complexion, though not highly 
coloured, was of that hardy, healthy hue which generally betokens a 
robust constitution, and high animal spirits ; the jaw was massive, 
and, to a physiognomist, betokened firmness and strength of character ; 
but the lips, full and large, were those of a sensualist, and their 
restless play, and habitual half-smile, spoke of gaiety and humour, 
though when in repose there was in them something furtive ana 
sinister. 

Maltravers looked at him in grave silence ; but when Ferrers, con- 
cluding his fourth letter before another man would have got through 
his first page, threw down the pen, and looked full at Maltravers, with 
a ^ood-humoured but penetrating stare, there was something so 
whimsical in the intruder's expression of face, and indeed in the whole 
scene, that Maltravers bit his lip to restrain a smile, the first he had 
known for weeks. 

" I see you read, Maltravers," said Ferrers, carelessly turning over 
the volumes on the table. " All very right : we should begin life with 
books ; they multiply the sources of employment ; so does capital ; — 
but capital is of no use, unless we live on the interest, — books are 
waste-paper, unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from 
thought. Action, Maltravers, action ; that is the life for us. At our 
age we have passion, fancy, sentiment ; we can't read them away, nor 
scribble them away ; — we must live upon them generously, but econo- 
mically." 

Maltravers was struck • the intruder was not the empty bore he had 
flhosen to fancy him. He roused himself languidly to reply. " Life, 

Mr. Ferrers " 

" Stop mon cher, stop ; don't call me Mister ; we are to be friends ; 
I hate delaying that which must be, even by a superfluous dissyllable; 

Sou are Maltravers, I am Ferrers. Eut you were going to tali about 
fe. Suppose we live a bttle while, instead of talking about it. It 
wants an hour to dinner; let us stroll into the grounds; I want 
to get an appetite ; — besides, I like nature, when there are no 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 45 

Swiss mountains to climb before one can arrive at a prospect. 
Allons!" 

" Excuse — " a^ain began Maltravers, half interested, half annoyed. 

" I'll be shot if 1 do. Come." 

Ferrers gave Maltravers his hat, wound his arm into that of his 
new acquaintance, and they were on the broad terrace by the lake 
before Ernest was aware of it. 

How animated, how eccentric, how easy was Ferrers' talk (for talk 
it was, rather than conversation, since he had the ball to himself) ; 
books, and men and things ; he tossed them about and played with 
them like shuttlecocks ; and then his egotistical narrative of half a 
hundred adventures, in which he had been the hero, told so, that you 
laughed at him and laughed with him. 



CHAPTER XVL 

" Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger. 
Comes dancing from the east." — MnioN. 

Hitherto Ernest had never met with any mind that had exercised 
a strong influence over his own. At home, at school, at Gottingen, 
everywhere, he had been the brilliant and wayward leader of others, 
persuading or commanding wiser and older heads than his own : 
even Cleveland always yielded to him, though not aware of it. In 
fact, it seldom happens that we are very strongly influenced by those 
stuck older than ourselves. It is the Senior, of from two to ten years, 
that most seduces and enthrals us. He has the same pursuits — views, 
objects, pleasures, but more art and experience in them all. He goes 
with us in the path we are ordained to tread, but from which the 
elder generation desires to warn us off. There is very little influence 
where there is not great sympathy. It was now an epoch in the intel- 
icctual life of Maltravers. He met for the first time with a mind that 
controlled his own. Perhaps the physical state of his nerves made 
liim less able to cope with the halt-bullying, but thoroughly good- 
liumoured impcriousness of Ferrers. Every day this stranger became 
more and more potential with Maltravers. Ferrers, who was an utter 
egotist, never asked his new triend to give him his confidence ; he 
never cared tliree straws about other people's secrets, unless useful to 
some purpose of Ids own. But he talked with so much zest about 
himself — about women and pleasure, and the gay. stirring life of cities 
—that the young spirit of Maltravers was roused from its dark lethargy 
without an effort of its own. The gloomy phantoms vanished gradually 
—his sense broke from its cloud— he felt once more that God had 
given the sun to light the day, and even in the midst of darkness had 
called up the host of stars. 

Perhaps no other person could have succeeded so speedily in curing 
Maltravers of his diseased enthusiasm : a crude or sarcastic unbeliever 
he would not Inve listened to; a moderate and enlightened divine he 



4(5 ERNEST MALTKAVEKS. 

would have disregarded, as a worldly and cunning adjuster of laws 
celestial with customs earthly. But Lumley Ferrers, who, when he 
argued, never admitted a sentiment or a simile in reply, who wielded 
his plain iron logic like a hammer, which, though its metal seemed 
duir,_kindled the ethereal spark with every stroke — Lumley Ferrers 
was just the man to resist the imagination, and convince the reason, ol 
Maltravers ; and the moment the matter came to argument, the cure 
was soon completed ; for, however we may darken and puzzle ourselves 
with fancies and visions, and the ingenuities of fanatical mysticism, no 
man can mathematically or syllogistically contend that the world which 
a God made, and a Saviour visited, was designed to be damned ! 

And Ernest Maltravers one night softly stole to his room and 
opened the New Testament, and read its "heavenly moralities with 
purged eyes ; and when he had done, he fell upon his knees, and 
prayed the Almighty to pardon the ungrateful heart that, worse that 
the Atheist's, had confessed His existence, but denied His goodness. 
His sleep was sweet and his dreams were cheerful. Did he rise to 
find that the penitence which had shaken his reason would henceforth 
suffice to save his life from all error ? Alas ! remorse overstrained 
has too often re-actions as dangerous ; and homely Luther says well, 
that "the mind, liiic the drunken peasant on horseback, when propped 
on one side, nods ar.d falls on the other." — All that can be said is, 
that there are certain crises in life which leave us long weaker ; from 
which the system recovers with frequent revulsion and weary relapse, 
— but from which, looking back, after years have passed on, 
we date the foundation of strength or the cure of disease. It is 
not to mean souls that creation is darkened by a fear of the anger of 
Heaven. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

" There are times when we are diverted out of errors, but could not be 
preached out of them. — There are practitioners who can cure us of one 
disorder, though, in ordinary cases, they be but poor physicians — nay, 
dangerous quacks." — Stepiikx Montagui!. 

Lumley Fekrers had one rule in life ; and it was this — to make 
all things and all persons subsurvient to himself. And Ferrers now 
intended to go # abroad for some years. He wanted a companion, for 
he disliked solitude : besides, a companion shared the expenses ; and 
a man of eight hundred a year, who desires all the luxuries ot life, 
does not despise a partner in the taxes to be paid for them. Ferrers, at 
this period, rather liked Ernest than not : it was convenient to choose 
friends from those richer than himself, and he resolved, when he first 
came to Temple Grove, that Ernest should be his travelling companion. 
This resolution formed, it was very easy to execute it. 

Maltravers was now warmly attached to his new friend, and eager 
for change. Cleveland was sorry to part with him ; but he dreaded a 
relapse, if the young man were again left upon his hands. Accordingly 
the guardian's consent was obtained ; a travelling-carriage was 



JSKNEST MALTHA VERS, it 

ionght. and fitted up -with every imaginable imperial vxAmalle. A 
Swiss (half valet and half courier) was engaged ; one thousand a year 
was allowed toMnltrnvcrs ;— and one soft and lovely morning, towards 
lhe close of October, Ferrers and Maltravers found themselves mid- 
way on the road to Dover. 

"How glad I am to get out of England," snid Ferrers: "it is a 
famous country for the rich ; but here, eight hun. ! -ed a year, without 
a profession, save that of pleasure, goes upon pepper and sal'. ; it is a 
luxurious competence abroad." 

" I think I have heard Cleveland say that you will be rich some day 
or other." 

" yes ; I have what are called expectations ! You must know that 
I have a kind of settlement on two stools, the Well-born and the 
"Wealthy; but between two stools — you recollect the proverb ! The 
present Lord Saxingham, once plain Frank Lascclles, and my father, 
Mr. Ferrers, were first cousins. Two or three relations good- 
naturedly died, and Frank Lascelles became an earl ; the lands did 
not go with the coronet : he was poor, and married an heiress. The 
lady died ; her estate was settled on her only child, the handsomest 
little girl you ever saw. Pretty Florence, I often wish I could look 
up to you ! Her fortune will be nearly all at her own disposal, too, 
when she comes of age; now she's in the nursery, 'eating Dread and 
honey.' My father, less lucky and less wise than his cousin, thought 
fit to marry a Miss Templeton — a nobody. The Saxingham branch of 
the family politely dropped the acquaintance. Now, my mother had 
a brother, a clever, plodding fellow, in what is called 'business :' he 
became rich and richer ; but my father and mother died, and were 
never the better for it. And I came of age, and worth (I like that ex- 
pression) not a farthing more or less than this often-quoted eight 
hundred pounds a year. My rich uncle is married, but has no children. 
I am, therefore, heir-presumptive, — but he is a saint, and close, 
though ostentatious. The quarrel between Uncle Templeton and the 
Saxinghams still continues. Templeton is angry if I see the Saxing- 
hams — and the Saxinghams — my Lord, at least — is by no means so 
sure that I shall be Templeton's heir as not to feel a doubt lest 1 
should some day or other sponge upon his lordship for a place. Lord 
Saxingham is in the administration, you know. Somehow or other 
1 have an equivocal amphibious kind of place in London society, which 
I don't like; on one side I am a patrician connection, whom the par- 
venu branches always incline lovingly to — and on the other side I am 
a half-dependent cadet, whom the noble relations look civilly shy at. 
Some day, when I grow tired of travel and idleness, I shall come 
back and wrestle with these little dilliculties ; conciliate my melho- 
distical uncle, and grapple with my noble cousin. But now I am fit 
for something better than getting on in the world. Dry chips, not 
green wood, arc the things for making a blaze ! How slow this 
fellow drives! Hollo, you sir! get on! mind, twelve miles to the 
hour! You shall have sixpence a mile. Give me your purse, Mal- 
travers; I may as well be cashier, being the elder and the wiser 
man; we can settle accounts at the end of the journey. By Jove 
what a pretty girl !" 



O K II. 



CHAPTER 1. 

" II y ent certainement quelque chose de singulier dans mes sentnoen* pour 
cette charniante femme."* — Rousseau. 

It was a brilliant ball at the Palazzo of the Austrian embassy at! 
Naples : and a crowd of those loungers, whether young or old, who 
attach themselves to the reigning beauty, was gathered round Madame 
de Ventadour. Generally speaking, there is more caprice than tasfo 
in the election of a beauty to the ldalian throne. Nothing disappoints 
a stranger more than to see for the first time the woman to whom the 
world has given the golden apple. "Yet he usually falls at last into 
the popular idolatry, and passes with inconceivable rapidity from 
indignant scepticism into superstitious veneration. In fact, a thou- 
sand tilings besides mere symmetry of feature go to make up the 
Cytherea of the hour . . tact in society — the charm of manner — a 
nameless and piquant brilliancy. Where the world find the Graces 
they proclaim the Venus. Few persons attain pre-eminent celebrity 
for anything, without some adventitious and extraneous circumstances 
which have nothing to do with the thing celebrated. Some qualities 
or some circumstances throw a mysterious or personal charm about 

them. "Is Mr. So-and-So really such a genius?" — "Is Mrs. 

Such-a-One really such a beauty?" you ask incredulously. "Oh, 
yes," is the answer. " Do you know all about him or her ? Such a 
thing is said, or such a thing has happened." The idol is inter- 
3sting_ in itself, and therefore its leading and popular attribute is 
worshipped. 

Now Madame de Ventadour was at this time the beauty of Naples; 
and though fifty women in the room were handsomer, no one would 
have dared to say so. Even the women confessed her pre-eminence — 
for she was the most perfect dresser that even France could exliibit. 
And to no pretensions do ladies ever concede with so little demur, as 
those which depend upon that feminine art which all study, and in 
which few excel. Women never allow beauty in a face that has an 
odd-looking bonnet above it, nor will they readily allow any one to be 
ugly whose caps are unexceptionable. Madame de Ventadour had 
also the magic that results from intuitive high breeding, polished by 

* There certainly was something singular in my sentiments for this charming 
woman 



iratWEST MALTBAVEXS. 4k 

habit to the utmost. She looked and moved the grande dame, as if 
Nature had been employed by Rank to make her so. She was do 
scended from one oi the most illustrious houses of France; had 
married at sixteen a man of eq'ial birth, but old, dull, and pompous — 
a caricature rather than a portrait of that great French noblesse, now 
almost if not wholly extinct. But her virtue was without a blemish-^ 
some said from pride, some said from coldness. Her wit was keen 
and court-like — lively, yet subdued; for her French high breeding 
was very clifFercnt from the lethargic and taciturn imperturbability of 
the English. AH silent people can seem conventionally elegant. A 
groom married a rich lady : he dreaded the ridicule of the guests 
whom his new rank assembled at his table — an Oxford clergyman 
gave him this piece of advice, " Wear a black coat and hold your 
tongue!" The groom took the hint, and is always considered one of 
the most gentlemanlike fellows in the county. Conversation is the 
touchstone of the true delicacy and subtle grace which make the ideal 
of the moral mannerism of a court. And there sat Madame de Ven- 
tadour, a little apart fmis the dancers, with the silent English dandy 
Lord Taunton, exqui?J'< -y dressed and superbly tall, bolt upright 
behind her chair : n^ A ' " bentimental German Baron Von Schomberg, 
covered with orders, whisKcred and wigged to the last hair of perfec- 
tion, sighing at her left hand : and the French minister, shrewd, bland, 
and eloquent, in the chair at her right ; and round on all sides pressed, 
and bowed, and complimented, a crowd of diplomatic secretaries and 
Itahan princes, whose bank is at the gaming-table, whose estates are 
in their galleries, and who sell a picture, as English gentlemen cut 
down a wood, whenever the cards grow gloomy. The charming De 
Ventadour ! she had attraction for them all ! smiles for the silent, 
badinage for the gay, politics for the Frenchman, poetry for the Ger- 
man — the eloquence of loveliness for all ! She was looking her best — 
the slightest possible tinge of rouge gave a glow to her transparent 
complexion, and lighted up those large dark sparkling eyes (with a 
latent softness beneath the sparkle), seldom seen but in the French — 
and widely distinct from the unintellectual languish of the Spaniard, 
or the full and majestic fierceness of the Italian gaze. Her dress of 
black velvet, and graceful hat with its princely plume, contrasted tne 
alabaster whiteness of her arms and neck. And what with the eyes, 
the skin, the rich colouring of the complexion, the rosy lips, and the 
'mall ivory teeth, no one would Lave had the cold hypercriticism to 
observe that the chin was too pointed, the mouth too wide, and 
the nose, so beautiful in the front face, was far from perfect in the 
p.ofile. 

" Pray was Madame in the Strada Nuova to-day?" asked the Ger- 
man, with as much sweetness in liis voice as if he had been vowing 
eternal love. 

" What else have we to do with our mornings, we women?''' replied 
ilndame de Ventadour. " Our life is a lounge from the cradle to the 
grave ; and our afternoons are but the type of our career. A prome- 
nade and a crowd, — voild tout ! We never see the world except in 
an open carriage." 

" It is the pleasantest wav of seeing it," said the Frenchman, drity 



50 Ek.-VJWT ,M\LTJtA.'VEaS. 

"T doubt it; the worst fatigue is that which comes without 
cx.-reisc." 

" Will you do me the honour to waltz ?" said the tall English lord, 
who had. a vague idea that Madame de Ventadour meant she would 
raiher dance than sit still. The Frenchman smiled. 

" Lord Taunton enforces your own philosophy," said the minister. 

Lord Taunton smiled because every one else smiled ; and, besides, 
ac had beautiful teeth ; but he looked anxious for an answer. 

" Not to-night, — I seldom dance. Who is that very pretty woman ? 
— What lovely complexions the English have ! And who," continued 
Madame de Ventadour, without waiting for an answer to the first 
question, " who is that gentleman, — the young one I mean, — leaning 
against the door?" 

" What, with the dark moustache ?" said Lord Taunton, — " he is 
a cousin of mine." 

" Oh ro ; not Colonel Bellfield ; I know him — how amusing he is ! 
— no ; the gentleman I mean wears no moustache." 

' Oh, the tall Englishman with the bright eyes and high forehead," 
said the French minister. " He is just arrived — from the East, I 
believe." 

" It is a striking countenance," said Madame de Ventadour ; "there 
is something chivalrous in the turn of the head. Without doubt, 
Lord Taunton, he is ' noble.' " 

" He is what you call ' noble,' " replied Lord Taunton — " that is, 
what we call a ' a gentleman,' — his name is Maltravers — Mr. Mal- 
travers. — He lately came of age ; and has, I believe, rather a good 
property." 

"Monsieur Maltravers; only Monsieur!" repeated Madame de 
Ventadour. 

" Why," said the French minister, " you understand that the En- 
glish gentilhomme docs not require a De or a title to distinguish him 
from the roturicr " 

" I know that ; but he has an air above a simple gentilhomme. There 
is something great in his look ; but it is not, I must own, the conven- 
tional greatness of rank : perhaps he would have looked the same had 
he been born a peasant." 

"You don't think him handsome!" said Lord Taunton, almost 
angrily (Cor he was one of the Beauty-men, and Beauty-men are some- 
times jealous). 

'Handsome! I did not say that," replied Madame de Ventadour, 
smiling ; " it is rather a fine head than a handsome face. Is he clever, 
I wonder ? — but all you English, milord, are well educated." 

" Yes, profound — profound : we are profound, not superficial," 
replied Lord Taunton, drawing down his wristbands. 

" Will Madame de Ventadour allow me to present to her one of 
my countrymen?" said the English minister, approaching— " Mr. 
Maltravers." 

Madame de Ventadour half smiled and half blushed, as she looked 
up, and saw bent admiringly upon her the proud and earnest counte- 
nance she had remarked. 

The introduction was made — a few monosyllables exchanged. The 



EKNJ2ST MALT1U.VEIIS. 51 

French diplomatist rose and walked away with the English one. 
Maitravers succeeded to the vacant chair. 

" Have yon been long abroad?" asked Madame de Ventadour, 

" Only four years ; yet long enough to ask whether 1. should not be 
most abroad in England." 

" You have been in the East — I envy you. And Greece, and Egypt, 
—all the associations ! You have travelled back into the Past • you 
have escaped, as Madame D'Epinay wished, out of civilisation and into 
romance." 

" Yet Madame D'Epinay passed her own life in making pretty 
romances out of a very agreeable civilisation," said Maitravers, 
smiling. 

" You know her memoirs, then," said Madame de Ventadour, 
slightly colouring. " In the current of a more exciting literature, 
few have had time for the second-rate writings of a past century." 

" Are not those second-rate performances often the most charm- 
ing," said Maitravers, " when the mediocrity of the intellect seems 
almost as if it were the effect of a touching, though too feeble, deli- 
cacy of sentiment? Madame D'Epinay's memoirs are of this cha- 
racter. She was not a virtuous woman— but she felt virtue and loved 
it ; she was not a woman of genius — but she was tremblingly alive to 
all the influences of genius. Some people seem born with the tem- 
perament and the tastes of genius without its creative power ; they 
have its nervous system, but something is wanting in the intellectual. 
They feel acutely, yet express tamely. These persons always have in 
their character an unspeakable kind of pathos — a court civilisation 
produces many of them — and the Erench memoirs of the last century 
are particularly fraught with such examples. This is interesting — the 
struggle of sensitive minds against the lethargy of a society, dull yet 
brilliant, that glares them, as it were, to sleep. It comes home to us ! 
for," added Maitravers, with a slight change of voice, " how many of 
us fancy we see our own image in the mirror ! " 

And where was the German baron ? — flirting at the other end of the 
room. And the English lord ? — dropping monosyllables to dandies by 
the doorway. And the minor satellites? — dancing, whispering, 
making love, or sipping lemonade. And Madame de Ventadour was 
alone with the young stranger in a crowd of eight hundred persons ; 
and their lips spoke of sentiment, and their eyes involuntarily ap- 
plied it ! 

While they were thus conversing, Maitravers was suddenly startled 
by hearing close behind him, a sharp, significant voice, saying in 
French, " Hcin, hein ! I've my suspicions — I've my suspicions." " 

Madame de Ventadour looked round with a smile. " It is only my 
husband," said she, quietly ; " let me introduce him to you." 

Maitravers rose and bowed to a little thin man, most elaborately- 
dressed, with an immense pair of spectacles upon a long sharp nose. 

"Charmed to make your acquaintance, sir!" said Monsieur de 
Ventadour. " Have you been long in Naples ? . . Beautiful 
weather — wont' last long — hein, hein, I've my suspicions ! No news 
as to your parliament — be dissolved soon ! Bad opera in London tbip 
year;— hein, hein— I've my suspicions." 

e2 



52 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

This rapid monologue was delivered with appropriate gesture. Each 
new sentence Mons. de Ventadour began with a sort of bow, and 
when it dropped in the almost invariable conclusion affirmative of his 
shrewdness and incredulity, he made a mystical sign with his fore- 
finger by passing it upward in a parallel line with Ins nose, which at 
the same time performed its own part in the ceremony by three con- 
vulsive twitches, that seemed to shake the bridge to its base. 

Maltravers looked with mute surprise upon the connubial partner 
of the graceful creature by his side, and Mons. de Ventadour, who had 
said as much as he thought necessary, wound up his eloquence by 
expressing the rapture it would give him to see Mons. Maltravers 
at nis hotel. Then, turning to his wife, he began assuring her of the 
lateness of the hour, and the expediency of departure. Maltravers 

flided away, and as he regained the door was seized by our old friend, 
jumley Ferrers. " Come, my dear fellow," said the latter ; " I have 
been waiting for you this half hour. Allons. But, perhaps, as I am 
dying to go to bed, you have made up your mind to stay supper. 
Some people have no regard for other people's feelings." 

" No_, Ferrers, I'm at your service ;" and the young man descended 
the stairs and passed along the Chiaja towards their hotel. As they 
gained the broad and open space on which it stood, with the lovely set- 
before them, sleeping in the arms of the curving shore, Maltravers, 
who had hitherto listened in silence to the volubility of his companion, 
paused abruptly. 

" Look at that sea, Ferrers. . . . What a scene ! — what deli- 
cious air ! How soft this moonlight ! Can you not fancy the old 
Greek adventurers, when they first colonised this divine Parthenope — 
the darling of the ocean — gazing along those waves, and pining no 
more for Greece ?" 

" I cannot fancy anything of the sort," said Ferrers. 
"And, depend upon it, the said gentlemen, at this hour of the 
night, unless they were on some piratical excursion — for they were 
cursed ruffians, those old Greek colonists — were fast asleep in their 
beds." 

" Did you ever write poetry, Ferrers ? " 

" To be sure ; all clever men have written poetry once in their lives 
— small-pox and poetry — they are our two juvenile diseases." 

" And did you ever feel poetry ? " 

"Feel it!" 

" Yes ; if you put the moon into your verses, did you tirst feel it 
shining into your heart ? " 

"My dear Maltravers, if T. put the moon into my verses, in all pro- 
bability it was to rhyme to noon. ' The night was at her noon ' — is a 
capital ending for the first hexameter — and the moon is booked for the 
next stage. Come in." 

" No, I shall stay out." 

" Don't be nonsensical." 

" By moonlight there is no nonsense like common sense." 

" What ! we — who have climbed the Pyramids, and sailed up the Nile, 
and seen magic at Cairo, and been nearly murdered, bagged, and Bos- 
phorized at Constantinople, is it for us, who have gone through so 



ERNEST MALTllAVKJttS. » 

many adventures, looked on so many scenes, and crowded into four 
years events that Mould have satisfied the appetite of a cormorant in 
romance, if it had lived to the age of a phoenix ; — is it for us to be 
doing- the pretty and sighing to the moon, like a black-haired appren- 
tice without a neckcloth, on board of the Margate hoy ? Nonsense, 1 
say — we have lived too much not to have lived away our green sick- 
ness of sentiment." 

" Perhaps you are right, Ferrers," said Maltravers, smiling. " But 
I can still enjoy a beautiful night." 

" 0, if you like flies in your soup, as the man said to his guest, 
n hen he carefully replaced those entomological blackamoors in the 
tureen, after helping himself — if you like flies in your soup, well and 
good — Lvona node." 

Ferrers certainly was right in his theory, that when we have known 
real adventures we grow less morbidly sentimental. Life is a sleep 
in which w r c dream most at the commencement and the close — the 
middle part absorbs us too much for dreams. But still, as Mal- 
travers said, we can enjoy a fine night, especially on the shores of 
Naples. 

Maltravers paced musingly to and fro for some time. His heart 
was softened — old rhymes rang in his ear — old memories passed 
through his brain. But the sweet dark eyes of Madame de Venta- 
dour shone forth through every shadow of the past. Delicious intoxi- 
cation — the draught of the rose-coloured phial — which is fancy, but 
seems love ! 



CHAPTER II. 

" Then 'gan the Palmer thus—' Ivlost wretched man 
That to affections dost the bridle lend : 
Tn their beginning they are weak and wan, 
But soon, through suffrance, growc to fearfull end; 
While they are weak, betimes with them contend.* " 

Spknser 

Mai/iraveiis went frequently to the house of Madame de Venta • 
dour — it was open twice a week to the world, and thrice a week to 
friends. Maltravi^ wis soon of the latter class. Madame de Ven- 
tadour had been in England in her childhood, for her parents had been 
emigres. She spoke English well and fluently, and this pleased Mal- 
travers ; for though the French language was sufficiently familiar to 
him, he was like most who are more vain of the mind than the per- 
son, and proudly averse to hazarding his best thoughts in the domino 
of a foreign language. We don't care how faulty the accent, or how 
incorrect the idiom, in which we talk notliings ; but if we utter any 
of the poetry within us, we shudder at the risk of the most trifling 
solecism. 

This was especially the case with Maltravers ; for, besides being 
now somewhat ripened from his careless boyhood into a proud and 
fastidious man, he had a natural love for the Becoming. This love 



H ERNEST MAIiTBAVEKS. 

was unconsciously visible in trifles : it is the natural parent of Good 
Taste. And it was indeed an inborn good taste which redeemed 
Ernest's natural carelessness in those personal matters, in which young 
men usually take a pride. An habitual and soldier-like neatness, and 
a love of order and symmetry, stood with him in the stead of elaborate 
attention to equipage and dress. 

Maltravers had not thought twice in his life whether he was hand- 
some or not ; and, like most men who have a knowledge of the gentler 
sex, he knew that beauty had little to do with engaging the love of 
women. The air, the manner, the tone, the conversation, the some- 
thing that interests, and the something to be proud of — these are the 
attributes of the man made to be loved. And the Beauty-man is, nine 
times out of ten, little more than the oracle of his aunts, and the " stick 
a love " of the housemaids ! 

To return from this digression, Maltravers was glad that he could 
talk in his own language to Madame de Ventadour ; and the conver- 
sation between them generally began in French, and glided away into 
English. Madame de Ventadour was eloquent, and so was Maltra- 
vers ; yet a more complete contrast in their mental views and conver- 
sational peculiarities can scarcely be conceived. Madame de Ventadour 
viewed everything as a woman of the world : she was brilliant, 
thoughtful, and not without delicacy and tenderness of sentiment ; 
still all was cast in a worldly mould. She had been formed by 
the influences of society, and her mind betrayed its education. At 
once witty and melancholy (no uncommon union), she was a disciple 
of the sad but caustic philosophy produced by Satiety. In the life she 
led, neither her heart nor her head was engaged ; the faculties of both 
were irritated, not satisfied or employed. She "felt somewhat too 
sensitively the hollowness of the great world, and had a low opinion 
of Human Nature. In fact, she was a woman of the French Memoirs 
;— one of those charming and spiritnelles Aspasias of the Boudoir, who 
interest us by their subtlety, tact, and grace, their exquisite tone of 
refinement, and are redeemed from the superficial and frivolous, 
partly by a consummate knowledge of the social system in which they 
move, and partly by a half- concealed and touching discontent of the 
trifles on which their talents and affections are wasted. These are the 
women who, after a youth of false pleasure, often end by an old age 
of false devotion. They are a class peculiar to those ranks and coun- 
tries hi which shines and saddens that gay and unhappy thing — a tooman 
without a home ! 

Now this was a specimen of life — this Valerie de Ventadour — that 
Maltravers had never yet contemplated, and Maltravers was perhaps 
equally new to the Frenchwoman. They were delighted with each 
other's society, although it so happened that they never agreed. 

Madame de Ventadour rode on horseback, and Maltravers was one 
of her usual companions. And oh, the beautiful landscapes through 
which their daily excursions lay ! 

Maltravers was an admirable scholar. The stores of the immortal 
dead were as familiar to him as his own language. The poetry, the 
philosophy, the maimer of thought and habits of life — of the graceful 
Greek and the luxurious Jlcman — were a part of knowledge that con 



EKXEST MALTRAVERS. 55 

stituted a common and household portion of his own associations and 
peculiarities of thought. He had saturated his intellect with the 
l'actolus of old — and the grains of gold came down from the classic 
Tmolus with every tide. This knowledge of the dead, often so use- 
less, has an inexpressible charm when it is applied to the places where 
the Dead lived. We care nothing about the ancients on Highgate 
Hul — but at Baiac, Pompeii, by the Virgilian Hades, the ancients are 
society with which we thirst to be familiar. To the animated and 
curious Frenchwoman what a cicerone was Ernest Maltravers ! How 
eagerly she listened to accounts of a life more elegant than that of 
Paris ! — of a civilization which the world never can know again ! _ So 
much the better ; — for it was rotten at the core, though most brilliant 
in the complexion. Those cold names and unsubstantial shadows which 
Madame de Ventadour had been accustomed to yawn over in skeleton 
histories, took from the eloquence of Maltravers the breath of life — 
they glowed and moved— they feasted and made love — were wise and 
foolish, merry and sad, like living things. On the other hand, Mal- 
travers learned a thousand new secrets of the existing and actua' 
world from the lips of the accomplished and observant Yalerie. Wha 
a new step in the philosophy of life does a young man of genius make, 
when he first compares his theories and experience with the intellect 
of a clever woman of the world ! Perhaps it does not elevate him, 
but how it enlightens and refines ! — what numberless minute yet im- 
portant mysteries in human character and practical wisdom does he 
drink unconsciously from the sparkling persiflage of such a companion! 
Our education is hardly ever complete without it. 

"And so you think these stately Romans were not, after all, so dis- 
similar to ourselves ?" said Valerie, one day, as they looked over the 
same earth and ocean along which had roved the eyes of the voluptuous 
but august Lucullus. 

"In the last days of their Republic, a coup-d'ceil of their social date 
might convey to us a general notion of our own. Their system, like 
ours — a vast aristocracy heaved and agitated, but kept ambitious and 
intellectual, by the great democratic ocean which roared below and 
around it. An immense distinction between rich and poor — a nobility 
sumptuous, wealthy, cultivated, yet scarcely elegant or refined ; — a 
people with mighty aspirations for more perfect liberty, but always 
Liable, in a crisis, to be influenced and subdued by a deep-rooted 
veneration for the very aristocracy against which they struggled; — a 
ready opening through all the walls of custom and privilege, lor every 
description of talent and ambition; but so strong and universal a respect 
for wealth, that the finest spirit grew avaricious, griping, and corrupt, 
almost unconsciously ; and the man who rose from the people did not 
scruple to enrich himself out of the abuses he affected to lament ; and 
the man who would have died for his country could not help thrusting 
his hands into her pockets. Cassius, the stubborn and thoughtful 
patriot, with his heart of iron, had, you remember, an itching palm, 
let, what a blow to all the hopes and dreams of a world was the over- 
throw of the free party after the death of Caesar ! What generations 
of freemen fell at Phluppi! In England, perhaps, we may have ulti- 
mately the same struggle ; in Frar-cc, toe (nevhaps a larger stage. 



56 KBNESX MALTKATEilS. 

with far more inflammable actors), we already perceive the same war 
of elements which shook Rome to her centre, which finally replaced 
the generous Julius with the hypocritical Augustus, which destroyed 
the colossal patricians to make way for the flittering dwarfs of a 
court, and cheated a people out of the substance with the shadow of 
liberty. How it may end in the modern world, who shall say ? But 
while a nation has already a fair degree of constitutional freedom, I 
believe no struggle so perilous end awful as that between the aristo- 
cratic and the democratic principle. A people against a despot — thai 
contest requires no prophet ; but the change from an aristocratic to a 
democratic commonwealth is indeed the wide, unbounded prospect 
upon which rest shadows, clouds, and darkness. If it fail — for cen- 
*uries is the dial hand of Time put back ; if it succeed " 

Maltravers paused. 

"And if it succeed?" said Valerie. 

" Why, then, man will have colonised Utopia !" replied Maltravers. 

"But at least, in modern Europe," he continued, "there will be 
fair room for the experiment. For we have not that curse of slavery 
which, more than all else, vitiated every system of the ancients, and 
kept the rich and the poor alternately at war ; and we have a press, 
which is not only the safety-valve of the passions of every party, but 
the great note-book of the experiments of every hour — the homely, 
the invaluable ledger of losses and of gains. No ; the people who 
keep that tablet well, never can be bankrupt. And the society of 
those old Ptomans; their daily passions — occupations — humours! — 
why, the satire of Horace is the glass of our own follies ! We may 
fancy bis easy pages written in the Chaussee d'Antin, or May-fair ; 
but there was one thing that will ever keep the ancient world dissimilar 
from the modern." 

"And what is that?" 

" The ancients knew not that delicacy in the affections which cha- 
racterises the descendants of the Goths," said Maltravers, and his 
voice slightly trembled ; " they gave up to the monopoly of the senses 
what ought to have had an equal share in the reason and the imagina- 
tion. Their love was a beautiful and wanton butterfly; but not the 
butterfly which is the emblem of the soul." 

Yalerie sighed. _ She looked timidly into the face of the young 
philosopher, but his eves were averted. 

"Perhaps," she said, after a short pause, "we pass our lives more 
happily without love than with it. And in our modern social system" 
(she continued, thoughtfully, and with profound truth, though it is 
scarcely the conclusion to which a woman often arrives), I think we 
have pampered Love to too great a preponderance over the other 
excitements of life. As children, we are taught to dream of it; in 
youth, our books, our conversation, our plays, are filled with it. We 
are trained to consider it the essential ot life ; and yet, the moment 
we come to actual experience, the moment we indulge this inculcated 
and stimulated craving, nine times out of ten we find ourselves wretched 
and undone. Ah, believe me, Mr. Maltravers, this is not a world in 
which we should preach up, too far, the philosophy of Love ! " 

"And does Madame de Ventadour speak from experience ?" asked 



ERNEST JlAnrRATOKS. 67 

Maitravers, gazing earnestly upon the changing countenance of his 
companion. 

"No; and I trust that I never may!" said Valerie, with great 
energy. 

Rrncst's lip curled slightly, for his pride was touched. 

"1 could give up many dreams of the future," said he, "to hcaar 
Madame de Ventadour revoke that sentiment." 

" We have outridden our companions, Mr. Maitravers," sai 
Valerie, coldly, and she reined in her horse. " Ah, Mr. Ferrers," sh 
continued, as Lumley and the handsome German baron now joined 
her, " you are too gallant; I see you imply a delicate compliment, to 
my horsemanship, when you wish me to believe you cannot keep up 
with me : Mr. Maitravers is not so polite." 

_" Nay," returned Ferrers, who rarely threw away a compliment 
without a satisfactory return, "Nay, you and Maitravers appeared lost 
among the old Romans ; and our friend the baron took that oppor- 
tunity to tell me of all the ladies who adored him." 

" Ah, Monsieur Ferrare, que vous etcs malin ! " said Schomherg, 
looking very much confused. 

" Malin ! no ; 1 spoke from no envy : / never was adored, thank 
Heaven ! What a bore it must be ! " 

" I congratulate you on the sympathy between yourself and Ferrers," 
whispered. Maitravers to Valerie. 

Valerie laughed ; but during the rest of the excursion she remained 
thoughtful and absent, and for some days their rides were discontinued. 
Madame de Ventadour was not. well. 



CHAPTER m. 

" O Love, forsake me not; 
Mine were a lone clark'lot 
Bereft of thee." 

Hbmans, Genius tinging to Love. 

I feae that as yet Ernest Maitravers had gained little from Ex- 
perience, except a few current corns of worldly wisdom (and not very 
valuable those !), while he had lost much of that nobler wealth with' 
which youthful enthusiasm sets out on the journey of life. Experience 
is an open giver, but a stealthy thief. There is, however, this to be 
said in her favour, that we retain her gifts ; and if ever we demand 
restitution in earnest, 'tis ten to one but, what we recover her thefts. 
Miltravers had lived in lands where public opinion is neither strong 
in its influence, nor rigid in its canons ; and that does not make a man 
better. Moreover, thrown headlong amidst the temptations that 
make the first ordeal of youth, with ardent passions and intellectual 
superiority, he had been led by the one into many errors, from the 
consequences of which the other had delivered him ; the necessity of 
roughing it through the world — of resistina fraud to-day, and violence 



55 EKXEST SIALTBAVEKS. 

to-morrow, — h ad liar dene d over tlie surface of liis heart, though at 
bottom the springs were still fresh and living. He liad lost much of 
his chivalrous veneration for women, for he had seen them less often 
deceived than deceiving. Again, too, the last tew years had been 
spent without any high aims or fixed pursuits. Maltravers nad been 
living on the capital of his faculties and affections in a wasteful, 
speculating spirit. It is a bad tiling for a clever and ardent man not 
to have from the onset some paramount object of life. 

All this considered, we can scarcely wonder that Maltravers should 
have fallen into an involuntary system of pursuing his own amuse- 
ments and pursuits, without much forethought of the harm or the 
good they were to do to others or himself. The moment we lose 
forethought, we lose sight of a duty ; and though it seems like a 
paradox, we can seldom be careless without being selfish. 

In seeking the society of Madame de Ventadour, Maltravers obeyed 
but the mechanical impulse that leads the idler towards the companion- 
ship which most pleases his leisure. He was interested and excited ■ 
and Valerie's manners, which to-day flattered, and to-morrow piqued 
him, enlisted his vanity and pride on the side of his fancy. But al- 
though Monsieur de Ventadour, a frivolous and profligate Frenchman, 
seemed utterly indifferent as to what his wife chose to do— and hi the 
society in which Valerie lived, almost every lady had her cavalier, — 
yet Maltravers would have started with incredulity or dismay had 
any one accused him of a systematic design on her affections. But 
he was living with the world, and the world affected him as it almos'; 
always does every one else. Still he had, at times, in his heart, the 
feeling that he was not fulfilling his proper destiny and duties ; and 
when he stole from the brilliant resorts of an unworthy and heartless 
pleasure, he was ever and anon haunted by his old familiar aspirations 
for the Beautiful, the Virtuous, and the Great. However, hell is 
paved with good intentions ; and so, in the mean while, Ernest Mal- 
travers surrendered himself to the delicious presence of Valerie de 
Ventadour. 

One evening, Maltravers, Ferrers, the French minister, a pretty 

Italian, and the Princess di , made the whole party collected at 

Madame de Ventadour's. The conversation fell upon one of the 
tales of scandal relative to English persons, so common on the 
continent. 

"Is it true, Monsieur," said the French minister, gravely, to 
Lumley, " that your countrymen are much more immoral than other 
people? It is very strange, but in every town I enter, there is 
always some story in which les Anglais are the heroes. I hear 
nothing of French scandal— nothing of Italian — toujours les Anglais." 
"Because we are shocked at these things, and make a noise aoout 
them, while you take them quietly. Vice is our episode— your 
epic." 

(< "I suppose it is so," said the Frenchman, with affected seriousness 

" If we cheat at play, or flirt with a fair lady, we do it with decorum, 

and our neighbours think it no business of theirs. But you treat 

■ -every frailty you find in your countrymen as a public concern, to !>e 



EliNKST JlALTtuVVjMiS. 59 

discussed and talked over, and exclaimed against, and told to all the 
world." 

" Ilikethe system of scandal," said Madame de Ventadour, abruptly, 
" say what you will ; the policy of fear keeps many of us virtuous. 
Sin might not be odious, if we did not tremble at the consequence 
even ot appearances." 

" Hein, nein," grunted Monsieur de Ventadour, shuffling into the 
room. " How are you ? — how are you ? Charmed to see you. Dull 
night — I suspect we shall have rain. Hein, hein. Aha, Monsieur 
Ferrers, comment ca va-t-il? will you give me my revenge at ecarte? 
1 have my suspicions that I am in luck to-night. Hein, hein." 

" Ecarte 7 — well, with pleasure," said Ferrers. 

Ferrers played well. 

The conversation ended in a moment. The little party gathered 
round the table — all, except Valerie and Maltravers. The chairs that 
were vacated left a kind ot breach between them ; but still they were 
next to ^ach other, and they felt embarrassed, for they felt alone. 

" Do you never play ? " asked Madame de Ventadour, after a pause. 

" I hate played," said Maltravers, " and I know the temptation. I 
dare not play now. I love the excitement, but I have been humbled 
at the debasement : it is a moral drunkenness that is worse than the 
physical." 

" You speak warmly." 

"Because I feel keenly. I once won of a man I respected, who 
was poor. His agony was a dreadful lesson to me. I went home, 
and was terrified to think I had felt so much pleasure in the pain of 
another. I have never played since that night." 

" So young and so resolute ! " said Valerie, with admiration in her 
voice and eyes ; "you are a strange person. _ Others would have been 
cured by losing, you were cured by winning. It is a fine thing to 
have principle at your age, Mr. Maltravers." 

"I fear it was rather pride than principle," said Maltravers. 
" Error is sometimes sweet ; but there is no anguish like an error of 
which we feel ashamed. I cannot submit to blush for myself." 

"Ah!" muttered Valerie; "this is the echo of my own heart!" 
She rose and went to the window. Maltravers paused a moment, 
and followed her. Perhaps he half thought there was an invitation 
in the movement. 

There lay before them the still street, with its feeble and unfrequent 
lights ; beyond, a few stars, struggling through an atmosphere un- 
usually clouded, brought the murmuring ocean partially into sight. 
Valerie leaned against the wall, and the draperies of the window 
veiled her from all the guests, save Maltravers ; and between her and 
himself was a large marble vase filled with flowers; and by that 
uncertain light Valerie's brilliant cheek looked pale, and soft, and 
(houghtfui. Maltravers never before felt so much in love with the 
beautiful Frenchwoman. 

" Ah, madam ! " said he, softly ; " there is one error, if if be so, 
that never can cost me shame." 

" Indeed ' " said Valerie, with an unaffected start, for she was not 



60 ERNEST Ma ../ES, 

aware he was so near her. As she spoke she began plucking (it is a 
common woman's trick) the flowers from the vase between her and 
Ernest. That small, delicate, almost transparent hand ! — Maltravcrs 
gazed upon the hand, then on the countenance, then on the hand 
again. The scene swam before him, and, involuntarily and as 
by an irresistible impulse, the next moment that hand was in his 
own. 

" Pardon me — pardon me," said he, falteringly ; " but that error is 
in the feelings that I know for you." 

Valerie lifted on him her large and radiant eyes, and made no 
answer. 

Maltravers went on. " Chide me, scorn me, hate me if you will. 
Valerie, 1 love you ! " 

Valerie drew away her hand, and still remained silent. 

" Speak to me." said Ernest, leaning forward ; " one word, I implore 
you — speak to me ! " 

He paused, — still no reply ; he listened breathlessly — he heard her 
sob. Yes ; that proud, that wise, that lofty woman of the world, in 
that moment, was as weak as the simplest girl that ever listened to a 
lover. But how different the feelings that made her weak ? — what 
soft and what stern emotions were blent together ! 

" Mr. Maltravers," she said, recovering her voice, though it sounded 
hollow, yet almost unnaturally firm and clear—" the die is cast, and I 
have lost for over the friend for whose happiness I cannot live, but 
for whose welfare I would have died ; I should have foreseen this, 
but I was blind. No more — no more ; see me to-morrow, and leave 
me now ! " 

"But Valerie " 

" Ernest Maltravers," said she, laying her hand lightly on his own ; 
" there is no anguish like an error of which we feel ashamed !" 

Before he could reply to this citation from his own aphorism, 
Valerie had glided away ; and was already seated at the card-table, 
by the side of the Italian princess. 

Maltravers also joined the group. He fixed his eyes on Madame de 
Ventadour, but her face was calm, — not a trace of emotion was dis- 
cernible. Her voice, her smile, her charming and courtly manner, all 
were as when he first beheld her. 

"These women— what hypocrites they are !" muttered Maltravers 
to himself ; and his lip writhed into a sneer, which had of late often 
forced away the serene and gracious expression of his earlier years, 
ere he knew what it was to despise. But Maltravers mistook the 
woman he dared to scorn. 

He soon withdrew from the palazzo, and sought his hotel. There, 
while yet musing in his dressing-room, he was joined by Ferrers. The 
time had passed when Ferrers had exercised an influence over Mal- 
travers ; the boy had grown up to be the equal of the man, in the 
exercise of that two-edged sword — the reason. And Maltravers now 
felt, unalloyed, the calm consciousness of his superior genius. He 
could not confide to Ferrers what had passed between him and Valerie. 
Lumley was too hard for a confidant in matters where the heart was at 
all concerned. In fact, in high spirits, and in the midst of frivolou 



EKNEST MALTRAVEKS. 61 

adventures, Ferrers was charming. But in sadness, or m the moments 
of deep feeling, Ferrers was one whom you would wish out of the 
way. 

"You are sullen to-night, mon cher," said Lumlev, yawning: "I 
suppose you want to go to bed — some persons are so ill-bred, so selfisli, 
they never think of their friends. Nobody asks me what I won at 
icarle. Don't be late to-morrow — I hate breakfasting alone, and 
/ am never later than a quarter before nine— I hate egotistical, ill- 
mannered people. Good night." 

"With this, Ferrers sought his own room : there, as he slowly un- 
dressed, he thus soliloquised : — " I think I have put this man to all 
the use I cau make of him. We don't pull well together any longer ; 
perhaps I myself am a little tired of this sort of life. That is not right. 
I shall grow ambitious by-and-by ; but I think it a bad calculation not 
to make the most of youth. At four or five-and-thirty it will be time 
enough to consider what one ought to be at fifty-" 



CHAPTER IT- 

" Mcwt dangerous 
Is that temptation that does goad us on 
To sin, in loving virtue." — Measure for Measure. 

" See her to-morrow ! — that morrow is come ! " thought Maltravers, 
as he rose the next day from a sleepless couch. _ Ere yet he had obeyed 
the impatient summons of Ferrers, who had thrice sent to say that he 
never kept people waiting," his servant entered with a packet from 
England, that had just arrived by one of those rare couriers who some- 
times honour that Naples, which might be so lucrative a mart to English 
commerce, if Neapolitan kings cared for trade, or English senators for 
"foreign politics." Letters from stewards and bankers were soon 
sot through ; and Maltravevs reserved for the last an epistle from 
Cleveland. There was much in it that touched him home. After 
some dry details about the property to which Maltravers nad now suc- 
ceeded, and some trifling comments upon trifling remarks in Ernest's 
former letters, Cleveland went on thus : — 

" I confess, my dear Ernest, that I long to welcome you back to 
England. You have been abroad long enough to see other countries ; do 
not stay long enough to prefer them to your own. You are at Naples, 
too — I tremble for you. 1 know well that delicious, dreaming, holiday- 
iife of Italy, so sweet to men of learning and imagination — so sweet, 
too, to youth — so sweet to pleasure ! But, Ernest, do you not feel 
already how it enervates ? — tow the luxurious far niente unfits us for 
grave exertion ? Men may become too refined and too fastidious for 
useful purposes ; and nowhere can they become so more rapidly thar, 
in Italy. My dear Ernest. I know von well ; vou are not made to sink 



62 ERXEST .MALTEAf EJJ*. 

down into a virtuoso, with a cabinet full of cameos and a head full of 
pictures ; still loss are you made to be an indolent cicesbeo to some 
fair Italian, with one passion and two ideas -. and yet I have known 
men as clever as you, whom that bewitclnng Italy has sunk into one or 
other of these insignificant beings. Don't run away with the notion 
that you have plenty of time befo/.e you. You have no such thing 1 . 
At your age, and with your fortune (l wish you were not so rich !), 
the holiday of one year becomes the custom of the next. In England, 
to be a useful or a distinguished man, you must labour. Now, labour 
itself is sweet, if we take to it early. We are a hard race, but we are 
a manly one ; and our stage is the most exciting in Europe for an able 
and an honest ambition. Perhaps you will tell me you &. e not ambi- 
tious now ; very possibly — but ambitious you will be ; and, believe 
me, there is no unhappier wretch than a man who is ambitious but 
disappointed, — who has the desire for fame, but lias lost the power 
to achieve it, — who longs for the goal, but will not, and cannot, put 
away his suppers to walk to it. What I most fear for you is one of 
these two evils — an early marriage or a fatal liaison with some married 
woman. The first evil is certainly the least, but for you it would still 
be a great one. With your sensitive romance, with your morbid 
cravings for the ideal, domestic happiness would soon grow trite and 
dull. You would demand new excitement, and become a restless and 
disgusted man. It is necessary for you to get rid of all the false fever 
of life, before you settle down to everlasting ties. You do not yet 
know your own mind; you would choose your partner from some 
visionary caprice, or momentary impulse, and not from the deep and 
accurate knowledge of those qualities wliich would most harmonize 
with your own character. People, to live happily with each other, 
must Ji( in, as it were — the proud be mated with the meek, the irrita- 
ble with the gentle, and so forth. No, my dear Maltravers, do not 
think of marriage yet awhile ; and if there is any danger of it, come 
over to me immediately. But if I warn you against a lawful tie, how 
much more against an illicit one ? You are precisely of the age, and 
of the disposition, which render the temptation so strong and so 
deadly. With you it might not be the sin of an hour, but the bondage 
of a life. I know your chivalric honour — your tender heart ; I know 
how faithful you would be to one who had sacrificed for you. But 
that fidelity, Maltravers, to what a life of wasted talent and energies 
would it not compel you ! Putting aside for the moment (for that 
needs no comment) the question of the grand immorality — what so 
fatal to a bold and proud temper, as to be at war with society at the 
first entrance into life ? What so withering to manly aims and pur- 
poses as the giving into the keeping of a woman, who has interest in 
your love, and interest against your career wliich might part you at 
once from her side— the control of your future destinies ? I could say 
more, but I trust what I have said is superfluous ; if so, pray assure 
me of it. Depend upon this, Ernest Maltravers, that if you do not 
fulfil what nature intended for your fate, you will be a morbid misan- 
thrope, or an indolent voluptuary — wretched and listless in man- 
hood, repining and joyless in old age. But if you do f ulfil your fate, 
you must enter soon into your apprenticeship. Let me see you 



EIINEST .UALTJiA VEBS. 63 

labour and aspire— no matter what in — what to. Work, work — that 
is all I ask of you ! 

" I wish you could see your old country-house ; it has a vene- 
rable and picturesque look, and during your minority they have 
let the ivy cover three sides of it. Montaigne might have lived 
there 

" Adieu, dearest Ernest, 

'' You' anxious and affectionate guardian, 

" Frederick Cleveland." 

" P.S. — 1 am writing a book— it shall last me ten years— it occupies 
me, but does not fatigue. Write a book yourself." 

Maltravers had just finished this letter when Ferrers entered impa- 
tiently, "Will you ride out?" said he. "I have sent the breakfast 
away ; I saw that breakfast was a vain hope to-day — indeed, my appe- 
tite is gone." 

"Pshaw!" said Maltravers. 

" Pshaw ! humph ! for my part I like well-bred people." 

" I have had a letter from Cleveland." 

" And what the deuce has that got to do with the chocolate ?" 

" Oh, Lumley, you arc insufferable ; you think of nothing but your- 
self, and self with you means nothing that is not animal." 

" Why, yes ; I believe I have some sense," replied Ferrers, com- 
placently. '" I know the philosophy of life. All unfledged bipeds are 
animals, I suppose. If Providence had made me graminivorous, I 
should have eaten grass ; if ruminating, I should have chewed the 
cud; but as it has made me a carnivorous, culinary, and cachirmatory 
animal, I eat a cutlet, scold about the sauce, and laugh at you; and 
this is what you call being selfish ! " 

It was late at noon when Maltravers found himself at the palazzo of 
Madame de Ycntadour. He was surprised, but agreeably so, that he 
was admitted, for the first time, into that private sanctum which bears 
the hackneyed title of boudoir. But there was little enough of the 
fine lady's boudoir in the simple morning-room of Madame de Venta- 
dour. It was a lofty apartment, stored with books, and furnished, 
not without claim to grace, but with very small attention to luxury. 

Valerie was not there ; and Maltravers, left alone, after a hasty 
glance around the chamber, leaned abstractedly against the wall, and 
forgot, alas ! all the admonitions of Cleveland. In a few moments the 
door opened, and Valerie entered. She was unusually pale, and Mal- 
travers thought her eyelids betrayed the traces of tears. He was 
touched, and his heart smote him. 

" I have kept you waiting, I fear," said Valerie, motioning him to 
a seat at a little distance from that on which she placed herself; "but 
yea will forgive me," she added, with a slight smde. Then, observing 
lie was about to speak, she went on rapidly, " Hear me, Mr. Maltra- 
vers — before you speak, hear me ! You uttered words last night that 
ought never to have been addressed to me. You professed to— love 
roe." 



«4 EKNEST SIA1THAYKIU1, 

"Professed!" 

" Answer me," said Valerie, with abrupt energy, " not as man to 
woman, but as one human creature to another. From the bottom of 
your heart, from the core of your conscience, I call on you to speak 
the honest and the simple truth. Do you love me as your heart, your 
genius, must be capable of loving?" 

" I love you truly — passionately ! " said Maltravers, surprised and 
confused, but still with enthusiasm in his musical voice and earnest 
eyes. Valerie gazed upon liim as if she sought to penetrate into his soul. 
Maltravers went on. " Yes, Valerie, when we first met, you aroused 
a long dormant and delicious sentiment. But, since then, what deep 
emotions has that sentiment called forth? Your graceful intellect — 
your lovely thoughts, wise yet womanly — have completed the con- 
quest your face and voice began. Valerie, I love you. And you — you, 
Valerie — ah ! I do not deceive myself — you also " 

"Love !" interrupted Valerie, deeply blushing, but in a calm voice. 
" Ernest Maltravers, I do not deny it ; honestly and frankly I confess 
the fault. I have examined my heart during the whole of the last 
sleepless night, and I confess that I love you. Now, then, understand 
me ; we meet no more." 

"What!" said Maltravers, falling involuntarily at her feet, and 
seeking to detain her hand, which lie seized. " What ! now, when 
you have given life a new charm, will you as suddenly blast it ? No, 
Valerie ; no, I will not listen to you." 

Madame de Ventadour rose and said, with a cold dignity—" Hear 
me calmly, or I quit the room ; and all I would now say rests for ever 
unspoken." 

Maltravers rose also, folded lus arms haughtily, bit his lip, and stood 
erect, and confronting Valerie rather in the attitude of an accuser thaar 
a suppliant. 

"Madame," said he, gravely, "I will offend no more; I will trust 
to your manner, since I may not believe your words." 

" You are cruel," said Valerie, smiling mournfully ; " but so are all 
men. Now let me make myself understood. I was betrothed to 
Monsieur de Ventadour in my childhood. I did not see him till a 
month before we married. I had no choice. French gills have none: 
We were wed. I had formed no other attachment. I was proud and 
vain :_ wealth, ambition, and social rank for a time satisfied my 
faculties and my heart. At length I grew restless aDd unhappy. 1 
felt that the something of life was wanting. Monsieur de Ventadour' s 
sister was the first to recommend to me the common resource of our 
sex — at least, in France— a lover. I was shocked and startled, for I 
belong to a family in which women are chaste and men brave. I began, 
however, to look around me, and examine the truth of the philosophy of 
vice. 1 found that no woman who loved honestly and deeply an illicit 
lover, was happy. I found, too, the hideous profundity of Eochefou 
cauld's maxim, that a woman— I speak of French women — may live 
without a lover ; but, a lover once admitted, she never goes through 
life with only one. She is deserted ; she cannot bear the anguish and 
the solitude ; she fills up the void with a second idol. Forlier there 
t« no longer a f;>d from virtue : it is a gliding and involuntary descent 



ERNEST HAM-RAVERS. 68 

from sin to sin, till old age comes on and leaves her without love and 
without respect. I reasoned calmly, for my passions did not blind un- 
reason. I could not love the egotists around me. I resolved upon 
my career ; and now, in temptation, I will adhere to it. Virtue is my 
lover, my pride, my comfort, my life of life. Do you love me, and 
■will you rob me of this treasure ? I saw you, and for the first time I 
felt a vague and intoxicating interest in another ; but I did not 
dream of danger. As our acquaintance advanced I formed to mysek 
a romantic and delightful vision. I would be your firmest, your 
truest friend ; your confidant, your adviser — perhaps, in some epochs 
of life, your inspiration and your guide. I repeat that I foresaw no 
danger in your society. 1 felt myself a nobler and a better being. I 
felt more benevolent, more tolerant, more exalted. I saw life through 
the medium of purifying admiration for a gifted nature, and a profound 
and generous soul. I fancied we might be ever thus — each to each ; 
— one strengthened, assured, supported by the other. Nay, I even 
contemplated with pleasure the prospect of your future marriage with 
another — of loving your wife — of contributing with her to your hap- 
piness — my imagination made me forget that we are made of clay. 
Suddenly all these visions were dispelled — the fairy palace was over- 
thrown, and I found myself awake, and on the brink of the abyss — 
you loved me, and in the moment of that fatal confession, the mask 
dropped from my soul, and I felt that you had become too dear to me. 
Be silent still, 1 implore you. I do not tell you of the emotions, of 
the struggles, through which I have passed the last few hours — thi 
crisis of a life. I tell you only of the resolution I formed. I thought 
it due to you, nor unworthy of myself, to speak the truth. Perhaps 
it might be more womanly to conceal it ; but my heart has something 
masculine in its nature. I have a great faith in your nobleness. I 
believe you can sympathise with whatever is best in human weakness 
I tell you that I love you — I throw myself upon your generosity. I 
beseech you to assist my own sense of right — to think well of me, to 
honour me — and to leave me !" 

During the last part of this strange and frank avowal, Valerie's 
voice had grown inexpressibly touching : her tenderness forced itself 
into her manner ; and when she ceased, her lip quivered ; her tears, 
repressed by a violent effort, trembled in her eyes — her hands were 
clasped — her attitude was that of humility, not pride. 

Maltravers stood perfectly spell-bound. At length he advanced; 
dropped on one knee, kissed her hand with an aspect and air of reve- 
rential homage, and turned to quit the room in silence ; for he would 
not dare to trust himself to speak. 

Valerie gazed at him in anxious alarm. " no, no ! " she exclaimed, 
" do not leave me yet ; this is our last meeting — our last. Tell me, at 
least, that you understand me ; that you see, if I am no weak fool, I 
am also no heartless coquette ; tell me that you see I am not so hard 
as I have seemed ; that I have not knowingly trifled with your happi- 
ness ; that even now I am not selfish. Your love. — I ask it no more ? 
But your esteem — your good opinion. Oh, speak — speak, I implore 
you ! " 

" Valeric," said Maltravers, "if 1 was silent, it was because my 

3 



66 ERNEST JIALTiiAVEllS. 

heart was too full for words. You have raised all womanhood in my 
eyes. I did love you — I now venerate and adore. Your noble frank- 
ness, so unlike the irresolute frailty, the miserable wiles of your sex, 
has touched a chord in my heart that has been mute for years. I leave 
you to think better of human nature. Oh ! " he continued, " hasten 
to forget all of me that can cost you a pang. Let me still, in absence 
and in sadness, think that I retain in your friendship — let it be friend- 
ship only — the inspiration, the guide of which you spoke ; and if ? here- 
after, men shall name me with praise and honour, feel, Yalene, feel 
that I have comforted myself for the loss of your love by becoming 
worthy of your confidence — your esteem. Oh, that we had met 
earlier, when no barrier was between us ! " 

" Go, go, now" faltered Valerie, almost choked with her emotions; 
" may Heaven bless you ! Go ! " 

Maltravers muttered a few inaudible and incoherent words, and 
quitted the apartment. 



CHAPTER V. 

" The men of sense, those idols of the shallow, are very inferior to the men 
of Passions. It is the strong passions which, rescuing us from sloth, can alone 
impart to us that continuous and earnest attention necessary to great intel- 
lectual efforts." — Helvetius. 

When Ferrers returned that day from his customary ride, he was 
surprised to see the lobbies and hall of the apartment which he occu- 
pied in common with Maltravers littered with bags and mattes, boxes 
and books, and Ernest's Swiss valet directing porters and waiters in a 
mosaic of French, English, and Italian. 

" Well ! " said Lumley, " and what is all this ? " 

" H signore va partir, sare, ah ! mon Dieu ! — tout of a sudden." 

" — h ! and where is he now ? " 

" In his room, sare." 

Over the chaos strode Ferrers, and opening the door of his friend's 
dressing-room without ceremony, he saw Maltravers buried in a 
fauteuil, with his hands drooping on his knees, his head bent over 
his breast, and his whole attitude expressive of dejection and ex- 
haustion. 

" What is the matter, my dear Ernest ? You have not killed a man 
in a duel ? " 

" No." 

" What then ?— Why are you going away, and whither ? " 

" No matter ; leave me in peace." 

"Friendly ! " said Ferrers ; " very friendly ! And what is to become 
of me— what companion am I to have in this cursed resort of anti- 
quarians and lazzaroni ? You have no feeling, Mr. Maltravers !" 
>■ " Will you come with me, then ? " said Maltravers, in vain endea- 
vouring to rouse himself. 



KKNEST MALTRAVERS. 8? 

" But -where are you going ? " 

" Anywhere ; to Paris— to London." 

" No ; I have arranged my plans for the summer. I am not so rich 
as some people. I hate change : it is so expensive." 

" But my dear fellow " 

" Is this fair dealing with me ? " continued Lumley, who, for once 
in his life, was really angry. " If I were an old coat you had worn for 
live years, you could: not throw hie off with more nonchalance." 

" "Ferrers, forgive me. My honour is concerned. I must leave this 
place. I trust you will remain my guest here, though in the absence 
of your host. You know that I have engaged the apartments for the 
next three months." 

" Humph ! " said Ferrers ; " as that is the case, I may as well stay 
here. But why so secret ? Have you seduced Madame de Venta- 
dour, or has her wise husband his suspicions ? Hein, hein ! " 

Maltravers smothered his disgust at this coarseness ; and, perhaps, 
there is no greater trial of temper than in a he friend's gross remarks 
upon the connections of the heart. 

" Ferrers," said he, " if you care for me, breathe not a word disre- 
spectful to Madame de Ventadour : she is an angel ! " 

" But why leave Naples ? " 

" Trouble me no more." 

" Good day, sir," said Ferrers, highly offended, and he stalked out 
of the chamber ; nor did Ernest see him again before his departure. 

It was late that evening when Maltravers found himself alone in his 
carriage, pursuing by starlight the ancient and melancholy road to 
Mola di Gaeta. 

His solitude was a luxury to Maltravers ; he felt an inexpressible 
sense of release to be freed from Ferrers. The hard sense, the un- 
pliant, though humorous imperiousness, the animal sensuality of his 
companion would have been a torture to him in his present state of 
mind. 

The next morning, when he rose, the orange blossoms of Mola di 
Gaeta were sweet beneath the window of the inn where he rested. It 
was now the early spring, and the freshness of the odour, the breath- 
ing health of earth and air, it is impossible to describe. Italy itself 
boasts few soots more lovely than that same Mola di Gaeta — nor does 
that halcyon o« wear, even at Naples or Sorrento, a more bland and 
enchanting smile. 

So, after a hasty and scarcely tasted breakfast, Maltravers strolled 
through the orange groves, and gained the beach; and there, stretched 
at idle length by the murmuring waves, he resigned himself to thought, 
and endeavoured, for the first time since his parting with Valerie, to 
collect and examine the state of his mind and feelings. Maltravers, 
to his own surprise, did not find himself so unhappy as he had ex- 
pected. On the contrary, a soft and almost delicious sentiment, 
which he could not well define, floated over all his memories of the 
beautiful Frenchwoman. Perhaps the secret was, that while his pride 
was not mortified. Ids conscience was not galled — perhaps, also, he 
had not loved Valerie so deeply as he had imagined. The confession 
and the separation had happily come before her presence had grown 



6S ERNEST MALTUAVERS. 

— the tnant of a life. As it was, he felt as if, by some holy and mystie 
sacrifice, he had been made reconciled to himself and mankind. He 
woke to a juster and higher appreciation of human nature, and :l 
■woman's nature in especial. HeTiad found honesty and truth, where 
he might least have expected it — in a woman of a court — in a woman 
surrounded by vicious and frivolous circles — in a woman who had 
nothing in the opinion of her friends, her country, her own husband, 
the social system in which she moved, to keep her from the conces- 
sions of frailty — in a woman of the world — a woman of Paris ! — yes, 
it was his very disappointment that drove away the fogs and vapours 
that, arising from the marshes of the great world, had gradually 
settled round his soul. Valerie de Ventadour had taught him not to 
despise her sex, not to judge by appearances, not to sicken of a low 
ana a hypocritical world. He looked in his heart for the love of Vale- 
rie, and he found there the love of Virtue. Thus, as he turned his 
eyes inward, did he gradually awaken to a sense of the true impres- 
sions engraved there. And he felt the bitterest drop of the deep 
fountains was not sorrow for himself, but for her. What pangs must 
that hi|*h spirit have endured ere it could have submitted to the 
avowal it had made ! Yet, even in this affliction, he found at last a 
solace. A mind so strong could support and heal the weakness of the 
heart. He felt that Valerie de Ventadour was not a woman to pine 
away in the unresisted indulgence of morbid and unholy emotions. 
He could not flatter himself that she would not seek to eradicate a love 
she repented ; and he sighed with a natural selfishness, when he owned 
also that sooner or later she would succeed. " But be it so," said 
ne, half aloud — "I will prepare my heart to rejoice when I leam 
that she remembers me only as a friend. Next to the bliss of her 
love is the pride of her esteem." 

Such was the sentiment with which his reveries closed— and with 
every league that bore him further from the south, the sentiment grew 
strengthened and confirmed. 

Ernest Maltravers felt that there is in the Affections themselves so 
much to purify and exalt, that even an erring love, conceived without 
a cold design, and (when its nature is fairly understood) wrestled 
against with a noble spirit, leaves the heart more tolerant and tender, 
and the mind more settled and enlarged. The philosophy limited to 
the reason puts into motion the automata of the closet — out to those 
who have the world for a stage, and who find their hearts are the great 
tctors, experience and wisdom must be wrought from the Philosophy 
of the Passions. 



BOOK III 



CHAPTER I. 

' Here will we »it, and let the sounds of music 
Creep in our ears — soft stillness and the night 
Become the touches of sweet harmony." 

SHAKSrEAKI. 



lOAT SONG ON THE LAKE OF COM& 

1. 

Th e Beautiful Clime ! — the Clime of Lov e ! 

Thou beautiful Italy ! 
Like a mother's eyes, the earnest skies 

Ever have smiles for thee ! 
Not a flower that blows, not a beam that glow*, 

Fut what is in love with thee ! 

2. 

The beautiful lake, the Larian lake I* 

Soft lake like a silver sea, 
The Huntress Queen, with her nymphs of sheen, 

Never had bath like thee. 
See, the Lady of Night and her maids of light, 

Even now are mid-deep in thee. 



Beautiful child of the lonely hills, 

Ever blest may thy slumbers be ! 
No mourner should tread by thy dreamy bed, 

No life bring a care to thee — 
Nay, soft to thy bed, let the mourner tread — 

And life be a dream like thee ! 

S'.ich, though uttered in the soft Italian tongue, and now imperfectly 
ItMislated — such were the notes that floated one lovely evening in 
summer along the lake of Como. The boat, from which came the 
sonp, drifted gentlv down the sparkling waters, towards the moasy 
banks of a lawn, whence on a little eminence gleamed the white walls 
of a villa, backed by vineyards. On that lawn stood a young and 
handsome woman, leaning on the arm of her husband, and listening 
to the song. But her delight was soon deepened into one of mora 

cieut iiaij>» t< ir Cotrso. 



70 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

personal interest, as the boatmen, nearing the banks, changed their 
measure, and she felt that the minstrelsy was in honour of herself. 

SERENADE TO THE SONGSTRESS. 

1. 

Chorus. 

Softly — oh, soft ! let us rest on the oar. 

And Tex not a billow that sighs to the shore : — 

For sacred the spot where the starry waves meet 

With the beach, where the breath of the citron is sweet • 

There's a spell on the waves that now waft us along 

To the last of our Muses, the Spirit of Song. 

Recitative. 

The Eagle of old renown, 

And the Lombard's iron crown, 
And Milan's mighty name are ours no more ; 

But by this glassy water, 

Harmonia's youngest daughter. 
Still from the lightning saves one laurel to our shore. 

2. 

Chorus. 

They heard thee, Teresa, the Teuton, the Gaul, 

Who have raised the rude thrones of the North on our fall ; 

They heard thee, and bow'd to the might of thy song, 

Like love went thy steps o'er the hearts of the strong, 

As the moon to the air, as the soul to the clay, 

To the void of this earth was the breath of thy lay. 

Recitative. 

Honour for aye to her 

The bright interpreter 
Of Art's great mysteries to the enchanted throng ; 

While tyrants heard thy strains, 

Sad Rome forgot her chains • 
The world the sword had lost was conquer'd back by song ! 

" Thou repentest, my Teresa, that thou hast renounced thy dazzling 
career for a dull home, and a husband old enough to be thy father," 
said the husband to the wife, with a smile that spoke confidence in 
the answer. 

"Ah, no! even this homage would have no music to me if thou 
didst not hear it." 

She was a celebrated personage m Italy — the Sig-nora Cesarini, now 
Madame de Montaigne ! Her earlier youth had been spent upon the 
stage, and her promise of vocal excellence had been most brilliant. 
But after a brief though splendid career, she ma Tied a French gentle- 
man of good birth and fortune, retired from the stage, and spent her 
life alternately in the gay saloons of Paris, and upon the banks of the 
dreamy Como, on which her husband had purchased a small but 
beautiful villa. She still, however, exercised in private her fascinaf ins- 
art ; to which — for she was a woman of singular accomplishment and 
talent — she added the gift of the improwisatrice. She had just re 



ERNEST MALTKAVERS. 71 

turned for the simmer to this lovely retreat, and a party of enthusiastic 
youths from Milan had sought the lake of Como to welcome her arrival 
with the suitable homage 01 song and music. It is a charming relic, 
that custom of the brighter days of Italy ; and I myself have listened, 
on the still waters of the same lake, to a similar greeting to a greater 
genius — the queenlike and unrivalled Pasta — the Semiramis of Song ! 
And while my boat paused, and I caught something of the enthusiasm 
of the serenaders, the boatman touched me, and, pointing to a part 
of the lake on which the setting sun shed its rosiest smile, he said, 
"There, Signor, was drowned one of your countrymen — 'bellissimo 
uomo ! che fu bello ! ' " — yes. there, in the pride of his promising youth, 
of his noble and_ almost godlike beauty, before the very windows — the 
very eyes — of his bride — the waves without a frown had swept over 
the idol of many hearts — the graceful and gallant Locke.* And above 
his grave was the voluptuous sky, and over it floated the triumphant 
music. It was as the moral of the Roman poets — calling the living 
to a holiday over the oblivion of the dead. 

As the boat now touched the bank, Madame de Montaigne accosted 
the musicians, thanked them with a sweet and unaffected earnestness 
for the compliment so delicately offered, and invited thein ashore. 
The Milanese, who were six in number, accepted the invitation, and. 
moored their boat to the jutting shore. It was then that Monsieur de 
Montaigne pointed out to the notice of his wife a boat, that had 
lingered under the shadow of a bank, tenanted by a young man, who 
had seemed to listen with rapt attention to the music, and who had 
once joined in the chorus (as it was twice repeated), with a voice so 
exquisitely attuned, and so rich in its deep power, that it had awakened 
the admiration even of the serenaders themselves. 

"Does not that gentleman belong to your party?" De Montaigne 
asked of the Milanese. 

" No, Signor, we know him not," was the answer ; " his hoat came 
unawares upon us ad we were singing." 

While this question and answer were going on, the young man had 
quitted his station, and his oars cut the glassy surface of the lake, 
just before the place where De Montaigne stood. With the courtesy 
of his country, the Irenchman lifted his hat ; and by Ms gesture, 
arrested the eye and oar of the solitary rower. " Will you honour 
us," he said, " by joining our little party ?" 

" It is a pleasure I covet too much to refuse," replied the boatman, 
with a slight foreign accent, and in another moment he was on shore. 
He was one of remarkable appearance. His long hair floated with a 
careless grace over a brow more calm and thoughtful than became 
his years ; bis manner was unusually quiet and self-collected, and not 
without a certain stateliness, rendered more striking by the height of 

• Captain William Locke of the Life Guards (the only son of the accomplished 
Mr. Locke of Norbury Park), distinguished by a character the most amiable, and 
by a personal beauty that certainly equalled, perhaps surpassed, the highest mas- 
terpiece of Grecian Sculpture. He was returning, in a boat, from the town of 
Como, to his villa on the oanks of the lake, when the boat was upset by one of tne 
mysterious under-currents to which tne lake is dangerously subjected, and he was 
drowned in sight of his bride, who was watchjog his return fr the turace oaf 
"^ony of their home. 



7JS EXNEST MALTKAVEltS. 

Ms stature, a lordly contour of feature, and a serene but settled ex- 
pression of melancholy in his eyes and smile. "You will easily believe," 
said he, " that, cold as my countrymen are esteemed (for you must 
have discovered, already, that I am an Englishman), I could not but 
share in the enthusiasm of those about me, when loitering near the 
very ground sacred to the inspiration. For the rest, 1 am residing 
for the present in yonder villa, opposite to your own ; my name is 
Maltravers, and I am enchanted to think that I am no longer a per- 
sonal stranger to one whose fame has already reached me." 

Madame de Montaigne was flattered by something in the manner and 
tone of the Englishman, which said a great deal more tnan Ms words- 
and in a few minutes, beneath the influence of the happy continental 
ease, the whole party seemed as if they had known each other for 
years. Wines, and fruits, and other simple and unpretending refresh- 
ments, were brought out and arranged on a rude table upon the 
grass, round which the guests seated themselves with their host and 
hostess, and the clear moon shone over them, and the lake sleut below 
in silver. It was a scene for a Boccaccio or a Claude. 

The conversation naturally fell upon music ; it is almost the only 
thing which Italians in general can be said to know — and even that 
knowledge comes to them, like Dogberry's reading and writing, by 
nature — for of music, as an art, the unprofessional amateurs know 
but little. As vain and arrogant of the last wreck of their national 
genius as the Romans of old were of the empire of all arts and arms, 
they look upon the harmonies of other lands as barbarous ; nor can 
they appreciate or understand appreciation of the mighty German 
music, which is the proper minstrelsy of a nation of men — a music of 
philosophy, of heroism, of the intellect and the imagination ; beside 
which, the strains of modern Italy are indeed effeminate, fantastic, 
and artificially feeble. Rossini is the Canova of music, with much of 
the pretty, with nothing of the grand ! 

The little party talked, however, of music, with an animation and 
gusto that charmed the melancholy Maltravers, who for weeks had 
known no companion save his own thoughts, and with whom, at alu 
times, enthusiasmfor any art found a ready sympathy. He listened 
attentively, but said little; and from time to time, whenever the conver 
sation flagged, amused himself by examining his companions. The 
six Milanese had nothing remarkable in their countenances or hi their 
talk ; they possessed the characteristic energy and volubility of their 
.countrymen, with something of the mascuhne dignity which distin- 
guishes the Lombard from the Southern, and a little of the Erench 
polish, which the inhabitants of Milan seldom fail to contract. Their 
i-ank was evidently that of the middle class • for Milan has a middle 
class, and one which promises great results hereafter. But they were 
noways distinguished from a thousand other Milanese whom Mal- 
travers had met in the walks and cafes of their noble city. The host 
was somewhat more interesting. He was a tall, handsome man, of 
about eight-and-forty, with a high forehead, and features strongly im- 
pressed with the sober character of thought. He had but little of 
the French vivacity in his_ manner; anil without looking at his 
countenance, you would still have felt insensibly that he was the 



ERNEST MALTEAVEB*. 73 

oldest of the party. His wife was at least twenty years younger than 
himself, rnirthful and playful as a child, but with a certain feminine 
;md fascinating softness m her unrestrained gestures and sparkling 
gaiety, which seemed to subdue her natural joyousness into the form 
and method of conventual elegance. Dark hair carelessly arranged, 
an open forehead, large black laughing eyes, a small straight nose, a 
complexion just relieved from the olive by an evanescent yet perpe- 
tually recurring blush : a round dimpled cheek, an exquisitely-shaped 
mouth with small pearly teeth, and a light and delicate figure a little 
below the ordinary standard, completed the picture of Madame de 
Montaigne. 

"Well," said Signor Tirabaloschi, the most loquacious and senti- 
mental or the guests, filling his glass ; " these are hours to think of 
for the rest of life. But we cannot hope the Signora will long 
remember what ice never can forget. Paris, says the Erench proverb, 
cd le paradis desfemmes ; and, in paradise, I take it for granted, we 
recollect verv little of what happened on earth." 

" Oh," said Madame de Montaigne, with a pretty musical laugh ; 
" in Paris it is the rage to despise the frivolous life of cities, and to 
affect des sentimens romanesques. This is precisely the scene which 
our fine ladies and fine writers would die to talk of and to describe. 
Is it not so, mon ami?" and she turned affectionately to De 
Montaigne. 

"True," replied he; "but you are not worthy of such a scene — you 
laugh at sentiment and romance." 

' ' Only at French sentiment and the romance of the Chaussee d' Antin. 
You English," she continued, shaking her head at Maltravers, "have 
spoiled and corrupted us ; we are not content to imitate you, we must 
excel you ; we out-horror horror, and rush from the extravagant into 
the frantic!" 

" The ferment of the new school is, perhaps, better than the stagna- 
tion of the old," said Maltravers. "Yet even you," addressing him- 
self to the Italians, " who first in Petrarch, in Tasso, and in Ariosto, 
set to Europe the example of the Sentimental and the Romantic; who 
built among the very rums of the classic school, amidst its Corinthian 
columns and sweeping arches, the spires and battlements of the 
Gothic — even you are deserting your old models and guiding literature 
into newer and wilder paths. 'Tis the way of the world — eternal 
progress is eternal change." 

Very possibly," said Signor Tirabaloschi, who understood nothing 
of what was said. " Nay, it is extremely profound; on reflection, it 
is beautiful — superb : you English are so — so — in short, it is admirable. 
Ugo Foscolo is a great genius— so is Monti ; and as for Rossini, — you 
know his last opera — cosa stupenda .'" 

Madame de Montaigne glanced at Maltravers, clapped her little 
hands, and laughed outright. Maltravers caught the contagion, and 
laughed also. But he hastened to repair the pedantic error he had 
committed of talking over the heads of the company. He took up 
the guitar, which, among their musical instruments, the serenaders 
had Brought, and after touching its chords for a few moments, said : 
"After all, Madame, in your society, and with this moonlit lake beforo 



74 EKNEST MALTRAVEKS. 

ns, we feel as if music were our best medium of conversation. Let ua 
prevail upon these gentlemen to delight us once more." 

" You forestall what I was going to ask," said the ex-singer ; and 
Maltravers offered the guitar to Tirabaloschi, who was in fact dying 
fro exhibit his powers again. He took the instrument with a slight 
grimace of modesty, and then saying to Madame de Montaigne, 
" There is a song composed by a young friend of mine, which is much 
admired by the ladies ; though, to me, it seems a little too sentimental," 
sang the following stanzas (as good singers are wont to do) with as 
much feeling as if he could understand them ! — 

NIGHT AND LOVE. 

When stars are in the quiet skies, 

Then most I pine for thee ; 
Bend on me, then, thy tender eyes, 

As stars look on the sea ! 

For thoughts, like waves that glide by night, 

Are stillest where they shine ; 
Mine earthly love lies hushed in lifht, 

Beneath the heaven of thine. 

There is an hour when angels keep 

Familiar watch on men ; 
When coarser souls are wrapt in sleep, — 

Sweet spirit, meet me then. 

There is an hour when holy dreams. 

Through slumber, fairest glide ; 
And in that mystic hour, it seems 

Thou shouldst be by my side. 

The thoughts of thee too sacred are 

For daylight's common beam ; — 
1 can but know thee as my star, 

My angel, and my dream ! 

Ami now, the example set, and the praises of the fair hostess exciting 
general emulation, the guitar circled from hand to hand, and each of 
the Italians performed his part : — you might have fancied yourself at 
one of the old Greek feasts, with the lyre and the myrtle-branch going 
the round. 

But both the Italians and the Englishmen felt the entertainment 
would be incomplete without hearing the celebrated vocalist and 
improwisatrice who presided over the little banquet ; and Madame 
de Montaigne, with a woman's tact, divined the general wish, and 
anticipated the request that was sure to be made. So she took the 

fuitar from the last singer, and turning to Maltravers, said, " You 
ave heard, of course, some of our more eminent improwisatovi, and 
therefore if I ask you for a subject it will only be to prove to you that 
the talent is not general amongst the Italians." 

"Ah," said Maltravers, "I have heard, indeed, some ugly old 
gentlemen with immense whiskers, and gestures of the most alarming 
ferocity, pour out then- vehement impromptus ; but I have never yet 
listened to a young and a handsome ladv. I shall only believe the 
inspiration when I hear it direct from the Muse." 



ERNES r MALT11A.VERS. 7b 

Well, I will do my best to deserve your compliments — you must 
jive me the theme." 

Maltravers paused a moment, and suggested the Influence of Praise 
on Genius. 

The improvyisatrice nodded asscnt ; and after a short prelude broke 
forth into a wild and varied strain ot verse, in a voice so exquisitely 
sweet, with a taste so accurate, and a feeling so deep, that the poetry 
sounded to the enchanted listeners like the language that Armida 
might have uttered. Yet the verses themselves, like all extempo- 
raneous effusions, were of a nature both to pass from the memory and 
to defy transcription. 

When Madame de Montaigne's song ceased, no rapturous plaudits 
followed — the Italians were too affected by the science, Maltravers 
by the feeling, for the coarseness of ready praise ; — and ere that 
delighted silence which made the first impulse was broken, a new-comer, 
descending from the groves that clothed the ascent behind the house, 
was in the midst of the party. 

" Ah, my dear brother," cried Madame de Montaigne, starting up, 
and hanging fondly on the arm of the stranger, " why have you lingered 
so long m the wood ? You, so delicate! And how are you P How 
pale you seem !" 

" It is but the reflection of the moonlight, Teresa," said the intruder. 
" I feel well." So saying, he scowled on the merry party, and turned 
as if to s link away. 

"No, no," whispered Teresa, "you must stay a moment and be 
presented to my guests : there is an Englishman here ■whom you will, 
like — who will interest you." 

With that she almost dragged him forward, and introduced him to- 
ller guests. Signor Cesarini returned their salutations with a mixture 
of bashf ulness and hauteur, half -awkward and half-graceful, and mut- 
tering some inaudible greeting, sank into a seat and appeared instantly 
lost in reverie. Maltravers gazed upon him, and was pleased with his 
aspect — which, if not handsome, was strange and peculiar. He was 
extremely slight and thin — his cheeks hollow and colourless, with 
a profusion of black silken ringlets that almost descended to his 
shoulders. His eyes, deeply sunk into his head, were large and 
intensely brilliant ; and a thin moustache, curling downward, gave an 
additional austerity to his mouth, which was closed with gloomy and 
half-sarcastic firmness. He was not dressed as people dress in general, 
but wore a frock of dark camlet, with a large shirt-collar turned down, 
and a narrow slip of black silk twisted rather than tied round his 
throat ; his nether garment fitted tight to his limbs, and a pair of hali- 
bessians completedhis costume. It was evident that the young man 
(and he was very young— perhaps about nineteen or twenty) indulged 
that coxcombry of the Picturesque which is the sign of a vainer mind 
than is the commoner coxcombry of the Mode. 

It is astonishing how frequently it happens, that the introduction of 
a single intruder upon a social party is sufficient to destroy all the 
familiar harmony that existed there before. We see it even when the 
intruder is agreeable and communicative — but in the present instance,, 
a ghost could scarcely have beeu a more unwclcomina: or unwelcome 



f6 BUNfiST MAi/rfUiVEKS. 

visitor. Tlie presence of tliis shy, speechless, supercilious-looking 
man, threw a damp over the whole group. The gay TirabaloscM 
immediately discovered that it was time to depart — it had not struck 
any one before, but it certainly was late. The Italians began to bustle 
about, to collect their music, to make fine speeches and fine profes- 
sions — to bow and to smile — to scramble into their boat, and to push 
off towards the inn at Como, where they had engaged their quarters 
for the night. As the boat glided away, and while two of them were 
employed at the oar, the remaining four took up their instruments and 
aang a parting glee. It was quite midnight — the hush of all things 
around nad grown more intense and profound — there was a wonderful 
might of silence in the shining air and amidst the shadows thrown by 
< lie near banks and the distant hills over the water. So that as the 
music chiming in with the oars grew fainter and fainter, it is impossible 
to describe the thrilling and magical effect it produced. 

The party ashore did not speak ; there was a moisture, a grateful 
one, in the bright eyes of Teresa, as she leant upon the manly form of 
De Montaigne, for whom her attachment was, perhaps, yet more deep 
and pure for the difference of their ages. A girl who once loves a 
man, not indeed old, but much older than herself, loves him with such 
a looking up and venerating love ! Maltravers stood a little apart 
from the couple, on the edge of the shelving bank, with folded arms 
and thoughtful countenance. " How is it," said he, unconscious that 
he was speaking half aloud, " that the commonest beings of the world 
should be able to give us a pleasure so unworldly ? What a contrast 
between those musicians and this music! At this distance, their 
forms are dimly seen, one might almost fancy the creators of those 
sweet sounds to be of another mould from us. Perhaps even thus the 
poetry of the Past rings on our ears — the deeper and the diviner, 
because removed from the clay which made the poets. Art, Art ! 
how dost thou beautify and exalt us ! what is nature without thee ! " 

"You are a poet, Signor," said a soft clear voice beside the solilo- 
quist ; and Maltravers started to find that he had had unknowingly a 
listener in the young Cesarini. 

" No," said Maltravers, " I cull the flowers, I do not cultivate the 
soil." 

" And why not ? " said Cesarini, with abrupt energy ; " you are an 
Englishman — ycu have a public — you have a country — you have a 
living stage, a breathing audience ; we, Italians, have nothing but the 
Dead." 

As he looked on the young man, Maltravers was surprised to see 
the sudden animation which glowed upon his pale features. 

" You asked me a question I would fain put to you," said the 
Englishman, after a pause. _ " You, methinks, are a poet ? " 

" I have fancied that I might be one. But poetry with us is a bird 
in the wilderness — it sings from an impulse — the song dies without a 
listener. that I belonged to a living country, Prance, England, 
Germany, America, — and not to the corruption of a dead giantess — 
for such is now the land of the ancient lyre." 

" Let us meet again, and soon," said Maltravers, holding out his 
hand. 



ERNEST MALT1UVBJIS. 77 

Cesarini hesitated a moment, and then accepted and returned the 
proffered salutation. _ Reserved as he was, something in Maltravers 
attracted him ; and, indeed, there was that in Ernest which fascinated 
most of those unhappy eccentrics who do not move in the common 
orbit of the world. 

In a few moments more the Englishman had said farewell to the 
owners of the villa, and his light boat skimmed rapidly over the 
tide. 

" What do you think of the Inglese?" said Madame de Montaigne 
to her husband, as they turned towards the house. (They said not a 
word about the Milanese.) 

"He has a noble bearing for one so young," said the Frenchman, 
" and seems to have seen the world, and both to have profited and to 
have suffered by it." 

" He will prove an acquisition to our society here," returned 
Teresa ; " he interests me; and you, Castruccio ? " turning to seek for 
her brother ; but Cesarini had already, with his usual noiseless step, 
disappeared within the house. 

" Alas, my poor brother ! " she replied, " I cannot comprehend him. 
What does he desire ? " 

" Fame ! " replied De Montaigne, calmly. " It is a vain shadow ; 
no wonder that ne disquiets himself in vain." 



CHAPTER n. 

" Alas ! what boots it with incessant care 
To strictly meditate the thankless Muse; 
Were it not better done as others use, 
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, 
Or with the tangles of Nesera's hair ? " 

Milton's Lycidiu. 

There is nothing more salutary to active men than occasional 
intervals of repose, — when we look within, instead of without, and 
examine almost insensibly (for I hold strict and conscious self- 
scrutiny a thing much rarer that we suspect) — what we have done — • 
what we are capable of doing. It is settling, as it were, a debtor and 
creditor account with the Past, before we plunge into new specula- 
tions. Such an interval of repose did Maltravers now enjoy. In 
utter solitude, so far as familiar companionship is concerned, he had 
for several weeks been making himself acquainted with his own 
character and mind. He read and thought much, but without any 
exact or defined object. I think it is Montaigne who says somewhere 
— " People talk about thinking — but for my part I never think, except 
when I sit down to write." I believe this is not a very common case, 
for people who don't write think as well as people who do ; but con- 
nected, severe, well-developed thought, in contradistinction to vague 
meditation, must be connected with some tangible plan or object ; 
and therefore we must be either wntinjc men or acting men, if we 



78 ERNEST 3IALT11AVERS. 

desire to test the logic, and unfold into symmetrical design the fused 
colours of our reasoning faculty. Maltravers did not yet feel this, 
but he was sensible of some intellectual want. His ideas, his memo- 
ries, his dreams crowded thick and confused upon him ; he wished to 
arrange them in order, and he could not. He was overpowered by 
the unorganised affluence of his own imagination and intellect. He 
had often, even as a child, fancied that he was formed to do some- 
thing in the world, but he had never steadily considered what it was 
to be, whether he was to become a man of books or a man of deeds. 
He had written poetry when it poured irresistibly from the fount of 
emotion within, but looked at his effusions with a cold and neglectful 
eye when the enthusiasm had passed away. 

Maltravers was not much gnawed by the desire of fame — perhaps 
few men of real genius are, until artificially worked up to it. There is 
in a sound and correct intellect, with all its gifts fairly balanced, a 
calm consciousness of power, a certainty that when its strength is 
fairly put out, it must be to realize the usual result of strength. Men 
of second-rate faculties, on the contrary, are fretful and nervous, 
fidgeting after a celebrity which they do not estimate by their own 
talents, but by the talents of some one else. They see a tower, but 
are occupied only with measuring its shadow, and think their own 
height (which they never calculate) is to cast as broad a one over the 
earth. It is the short man who is always throwing up his chin, and 
is as erect as a dart. The tall man stoops, and the strong man is not 
always using the dumb-bells. 

Maltravers h^d not yet, then, the keen and sharp yearning- for 
reputation ; he had not. as yet, tasted its sweets and bitters — fatal 
draught, which once tasicd- begets too often an insatiable thirst! 
neither had he enemies and decriers whom he was desirous of abash- 
ing by merit. And that is a very ordinary cause for exertion in proud 
minds. He was, it is true, generally reputed clever, and fools were 
afraid of him : but as he actively interfered with no man's preten- 
sions, so no man thought it necessary to call him a blockhead. At 
present, therefore, it was quietly and naturally that his mind was 
working its legitimate way to its destiny of exertion. _ He began idly 
and carelessly to note down his thoughts and impressions ; what was 
once put on the paper, begot new matter ; his ideas became more 
lucid to himself; and the page grew a looking-glass, which presented 
the likeness of his own features. He began by writing with rapidity, 
and without method. He had no object but to please himself, and to 
find a vent for an overcharged spirit ; and, like most writings of the 
young, the matter was egotistical. We commence with the small 
nucleus of passion and experience, to widen the circle afterwards ; 
and, perhaps, the most extensive and universal masters of life and 
character have begun by being egotists. Tor there is in a man that 
has much in him, a wonderfully acute and sensitive perception of his 
own existence. An imaginative and susceptible person has, indeed, 
ten times as much life as a dull fellow, " an' he be Hercules." He 
multiplies himself in a thousand objects, associates each with his own 
identity, lives in each, and almost looks upon the world with its 
infinite objects as a part of his individual being. Afterwards, as he 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 79 

tames down, he withdraws bis forces into the citadel, bnt he still has 
a knowledge of, and an interest in, the land they once covered. He 
understands other people, for he has lived in other people — the dead 
and the living ; — fancied himself now Brutus and now Caesar, and 
thought how he should act in almost every imaginable circumstance 
cfhfe. 

Thus, when he begins to paint human characters, essentially differ- 
ent from his own, his knowledge comes to him almost intuitively. It 
is as if he were describing the mansions in which he himself has for* 
merly lodged, though for a short time. Hence, in great writers o£ 
History — of Romance — of the Drama — the gusto with which they paint 
their personages ; their creations are flesh and blood, not shadows or 
machines. 

Maltravers was at first, then, an egotist in the matter of his rude 
and desultory sketches — in the manner, as I said before, he was care- 
less and negligent, as men will be who have not yet found that expres- 
sion is an art. Still those wild and valueless essays — those rapt and 
secret confessions of his own heart — were a delight to him. He 
began to taste the transport, the intoxication of an author. And oh, 
what a luxury is there in that first love of the Muse ! that process by 
which we give a palpable form to the long-intangible visions which 
have flitted across us ; — the beautiful ghost of the Ideal within us, 
which we invoke in the Gadara of our still closets, with the wand of 
the simple pen ! 

It was early noon, the day after he had formed his acquaintance 
with the De Montaignes, that Maltravers sat in his favourite room ; — 
the one he had selected for his study, from the many chambers of his 
large and solitary habitation. He sat in a recess by the open window, 
which looked on the lake ; and books were scattered on his table, and 
Maltravers was jotting down his criticisms on what he read, mingled 
with his impressions on what he saw. It is the pleasantest kind of 
composition — the note-book of a man who studies in retirement, who 
observes in society, who in all things can admire and feel. He was 
yet engaged in this easy task, when Cesarini was announced, and the 
youm* orother of the fair Teresa entered his apartment. 

" I have availed myself soon of your invitation," said the Italian. 

" I acknowledge the compliment," replied Maltravers, pressing the 
hand shyly held out to him. 

" I see you have been writing — I thought you were attached to 
literature. I read it in your countenance, I heard it in your voice," 
said Cesarini, seating himself. 

" I have been idly beguiling a very idle leisure, it is true," said 
Maltravers. 

" But you do not write for yourself alone — you have an eye to the 
great tribunals — Time and the Public." 

" Not so, I assure you honestly," said Maltravers, smiling . " If 
you look at the books on my table, you will see that they are the great 
masterpieces of ancient and modern lore — these are studies that dis- 
courage tyros " 

" But inspire them." 

" I do not think so. Models may form our taste as critics, but do 



SO ERNEST JIAI/TIlA.VF,ltS. 

not excite us to be authors. I fancy that our own emotions, our own 
sense of our destiny, make the great lever of the inert matter we 
accumulate. ' Look in thy heart and write,' said an old English 
writer,* who did not, however, practise what he preached. And you, 
Signor " 

" Am nothing, and would be something," said the young man, 
shortly and bitterly. 

" And how does that wish not realize its object ?" 

" Merely because I am Italian," said Cesarini. " With us there 
is no literary public — no vast reading class — we have dilettanti and 
literati, and students, and even authors; but these make only a 
coterie, not a public. I have written, il have published ; but no one 
listened to me. I am an author without readers." 

" It is no uncommon case in England," said Maltravers. 

The Italian continued — " I thought to live in the mouths of men — 
to stir up thoughts long dumb — to awaken the strings of the old lyre ! 
In vain. Like the nightingale, I sing only to break my heart with a 
false and melancholy emulation of other notes." 

"There are epochs in all countries," said Maltravers, gently, "when 
peculiar veins of literature are out of vogue, and when no genius can 
bring them into public notice. But you wisely said there were two 
tribunals — the Public and Time. You have still the .ast to appeal to. 
Your great Italian historians wrote for the unborn — then- works not 
even published till their death. That indifference to living reputation 
has in it, to me, something of the sublime." 

" I cannot imitate them — and they were not poets," said Cesarini, 
sharply. " To poets, praise is a necessary aliment ; neglect is death." 

" My dear Signor Cesarini," said the Englishman, feelingly, " do 
not give way to these thoughts. There ought to be in a healthful 
ambition the stubborn stuff of persevering longevity ; it must live on, 
and hope for the day which comes slow or fast, to all whose labours 
deserve the goal." 

" But perhaps mine do not. 1 sometimes fear so — it is a horrid 
thought." 

" Yon are very young yet," said Maltravers : " how few at your 
age ever sicken for fame ! That first step is, perhaps, the half way to 
the prize." 

I am not sure that Ernest thought exactly as he spoke ; but it was 
the most delicate consolation to oifer to a man whose abrupt frank- 
ness embarrassed and distressed him. The young man shook his 
head despondingly. Maltravers tried to change the subject — he rose 
and moved to the balcony, which overhung the lake — he talked of 
the weather — he dwelt on the exquisite scenery — he pointed to the 
minute and more latent beauties around, with the eye and taste oi 
one who had looked at Nature in her details. The poet grew more 
animated and cheerful ; he became even eloquent ; he quoted poetry 
and he talked it. Maltravers was more and more interested in him. 
He felt a curiosity to know if his talents equalled his aspirations: 
he hinted to Cesarini his wish to see his compositions — it was just 

* Sir Philip Sidney. 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 81 

what the young man desired. Poor Cesarini ! It was much to him 
to get a new listener, and he fondly imagined every honest listener 
must be a warm admirer. But with the coyness of his caste, he 
affected reluctance and hesitation ; he dallied with his own impatient 
yearnings. And Maltravcrs, to smooth his way, proposed an excur- 
sion on the lake. 

" One of my men shall row," said he ; " you shall recite to me, 
and I will be to you what the old housekeeper was to Moliere." 

Ma_travers had deep good-nature where he was touched, though 
cc had not a superfluity of what is called good-humour, which floats 
on the surface and smiles on all alike. He had much of the milk 
of human kindness, but little of its oil. 

The poet assented, and they were soon upon the lake. It was a 
sultry day, and it was noon ; so the boat crept slowly along by the 
shadow of the shore, and Cesarini drew from his breast-pocket some 
manuscripts of small and beautiful writing. Who does not know 
the pains a young poet takes to bestow a fair dress on his darling 
rhymes! 

Cesarini read well and feelingly. Everything was in favour of 
the reader. His own poetical countenance — his voice, his enthu- 
siasm, half-suppressed, — .the pre-engaged interest of the auditor — 
the dreamy loveliness of the hour and scene — (for there is a great 
deal as to time in these things !) Maltravers listened intently. It 
is very difficult to judge of the exact merit of poetry in another 
language, even when we know that language well — so much is 
there in the untranslatable magic of expression, the little subtle- 
ties of style. But Maltravers, fresh, as he himself had said, from 
the study of great and original writers, could not but feel that he 
was listening to feeble though melodious mediocrity. It was the 
poetry of words, not things. He thought it cruel, however, to be 
hypercritical, and he uttered all the commonplaces of eulogium 
that occurred to him. The young man was enchanted: "And 
yet," said he with a sigh, "I have no Public. In England they 
would appreciate me." Alas ! in England, at that moment, there 
were five hundred poets as young, as ardent, and yet more gifted, 
whose hearts heat with the same desire — whose nerves were broken 
by the same disappointments. 

Maltravers found that his young friend would not listen to any 
judgment not purely favourable. The archbishop in " Gil Bias " was 
not more touchy upon any criticism that was not panegyric. Mal- 
travers thought it a bad sign, but he recollected Gil Bias, and 
prudently refrained from bringing on himself the benevolent wish of 
li beaucoup de bonheur et un peu plus de bon gout." When Cesa- 
rini had finished his MS., he was anxious to conclude the excursion 
—lie longed to be at home, and think over the admiration he had 
excited. But he left his _ poems with Maltravers, and getting on 
shore by the remains of Pliny's villa, was soon out of sight. 

Maltravers that evening read the poems with attention. His 
first opinion was confirmed. The young man wrote without know- 
ledge. He had never felt the passions he painted, never been is 
die situations he described. There was no originality in him, lot 



82 ERNEST MALTRAVBKS. 

there was no experience : it was exquisite mechanism, his verse, — 
nothing more ? It might well deceive him, for it could not but 
flatter his ear — and Tasso's silver march rang not more musically 
than did the chiming stanzas of Castruccio Cesarini. 

The perusal of tins poetry and his conversation _ with the poet, 
threw Maltravers into a fit of deep musing. " This poor Cesarini 
mav warn me against myself!" thought he. "Better hew wood 
and draw water, than attach ourselves devotedly to an art in whicn 
we have not the capacity to excel. . It is to throw away the 
healthful objects of life for a diseased dream, — woise than the 
Bosicrucians, it is to make a sacrifice of all human beauty for the 
smile of a sylphid, that never visits us but in visions."_ Maltravers 
looked over his own compositions, and thrust them into die fire. 
He slept ill that night. His pride was a little dejected. He was 
like a beauty who has seen a caricature of herself. 



CHAPTER HI. 

" Still follow Sense, of every art the Soul." 

Pope: Moral Essays— Essay iv. 

Ernest Maltha vers spent much of his time with the family of 
De Montaigne. There is no period of life in which we are more 
accessible to the sentiment of friendship, than in the intervals of moral 
exhaustion which succeed to the disappointments of the passions. 
There is, then, something inviting in those gentler feelings which 
keep alive, but do not fever, the circulation of the affections. Mal- 
travers looked with the benevolence of a brother upon the brilliant, 
versatile, and restless Teresa. She was the last person in the world 
he could have been in love with — for his nature, ardent, excitable, 
yet fastidious, required sometliing of repose in the manners and 
temperament of the woman whom he could love, and Teresa scarcely 
knew what repose was. Whether playing with her children (and 
she had two lovely ones — the eldest six years old), or teasing her 
calm and meditative husband, or pouring out extempore verses, or 
tattling over airs which she never finished, on the guitar or piano — or 
making excursions on the lake — or, in short, in whatever occupation she 
appeared as the Cynthia of the minute, she was always gay and mobile 
—never out of humour, never acknowledging a single care or cross in 
*ife — never susceptible of grief, save when her brother's delicate health 
or morbid temper saddened her atmosphere of sunshine. Even then, 
the sanguine elasticity of her mind and constitution quickly recovered 
from the depression ; and she persuaded herself that Castruccio would 
grow stronger every year, and ripen into a celebrated and happy man. 
Castruccio himself lived what romantic poetasters call the "life of a 
poet." He loved to see the sun rise over the distant Alps — or the 
midnight moon sleeping on the lake. He spent half the day, and 
often half the night, in solitary rambles, weaving his airy rhymes, or 



ERNEST MALTRAVEKS. 8i 

indulging his gloomy reveries, and lie thought loneliness made the 
dement of a poet. Alas ! Dante, Alfieri, even Petrarch might have 
taught him, that a poet must have ultimate knowledge of men as well 
as mountains, if he desire to become the Creator. When Shelley, in 
one of his prefaces, boasts of being familiar with Alps and glaciers, 
and Heaven knows what, the critical artist cannot help wishing that 
he had been rather familiar with Fleet Street or the Strand. Perhaps, 
then, that remarkable' genius might have been more capable of 
realizing characters of flesh and blood, and have composed cor- 
poreal and consummate wholes, not confused and glittering frag- 
ments. 

Though Ernest was attached to Teresa and deeply interested in 
Castruccio, it was De Montaigne for whom he experienced the 
ivigher and graver sentiment of esteem. This Frenchman was one 
acquainted with a much larger world than that of the Coteries. He 
had served in the army, been employed with distinction in civil affairs, 
and was of that robust and healthful moral constitution which 
can bear with every variety of social life, and estimate calmly the 
balance of our mortal fortunes. Trial and experience had left him 
that true philosopher who is too wise to be an optimist, too just to be 
a misanthrope. He enjoyed life with sober judgment, and pursued 
the path most suited to himself, without declaring it to be the oest for 
others. He was a little hard, perhaps, upon the errors that belong 
to weakness and conceit — not to those that have their source in great 
natures or generous thoughts. Among his characteristics was a pro- 
found admiration for England. His own country he half loved, yet 
half disdained. The impetuosity and levity of his compatriots dis- 
pleased his sober and dignified notions. He could not forgive them 
(he was wont to say) for having made the two grand experiments of 
popular revolution and military despotism in vain. He sympatliised 
neither with the young enthusiasts who desired a republic, without 
well knowing the numerous strata of habits and customs upon which 
that fabric, if designed for permanence, should be built — nor with the 
uneducated and fierce chivalry that longed for a restoration of the 
warrior empire — nor with the dull and arrogant bigots who connected 
all ideas of order and government with the ill-starred and worn-out; 
dynasty of the Bourbons. In fact, good sense was with hiin the prhi- 
eipium etfons of all theories and all practice. And it was this quality 
that attached him to the English. His philosophy on this head wag 
rather curious. 

" Good sense," said he one day to Maltravers, as they were walking 
to and fro at De Montaigne's villa, by the margin of the lake, " is not 
a merely intellectual attribute. It is rather the result of a just 
equilibrium of all our faculties, spiritual and moral. Thedishonest,or the 
toys of their own passions, may have genius ; but they rarely, if ever, 
have good sense in the conduct of ufe. They may often win large 
prizes, but it is by a game of chance, not skill. But the man whom 
I perceive walking an honourable and upright career — just to others, 
and also to himself (for we owe justice to ourselves — to the care of 
our fortunes, our character — to the management of our passions)— t-ta 
% msre dignified representative of his Maker than the mere chiM dff 



83 ERNEST aiA.LTIlAV.EIlS. 

genius. Of such a man, we say, he has good sense ; yes, but he has 
also integrity, self-respect, and self-denial. A thousand trials which 
his sense braves and conquers, are temptations also to his probity — 
his temper — in a word, to all the many sides of his complicated nature. 
Now, I do not think he will have this good sense any more than a 
drunkard will have strong nerves, unless he be in the constant habit 
of keeping his mind clear from the intoxication of envy, vanity, and 
the various emotions that dupe and mislead us. Good sense is not, 
therefore, an abstract quality or a solitary talent ; but it is the 
natural result of the habit ot thinking justly, and therefore seeing 
clearly, and is as different from the sagacity that belongs to a diplo- 
matist or attorney, as the philosophy of Socrates differed from the 
rhetoric of Gorgias. As a mass of individual excellencies make up 
this attribute in a man, so a mass of such men thus characterised give 
a character to a nation. Your England is, therefore, renowned for 
its good sense ; but it is renowned also for the excellencies which ac- 
company strong sense in an individual, high honesty and faith in its 
dealings, a warm love of justice and fair play, a general freedom from 
the violent crimes common on the Continent, and the energetic per- 
severence in enterprise once commenced, which results from a bold 
and healthful disposition." 

" Our Wars, our Debt " began Maltravers. 

"Pardon me," interrupted De Montaigne, " I am speaking of your 
People, not of your Government. A government is often a very unfair 
representative of a nation. But even in the wars you allude to, if 
you examine, you will generally find them originate in the love of 
justice (which is the basis of good sense), not from any insane desire 
of conquest or glory. A man, however sensible, must have a heart in 
his bosom, and a great nation cannot be a piece of selfish clockwork. 
Suppose you and I are sensible, prudent men, and we see in a crowd 
one violent fellow unjustly knocking another on the head, we should 
be brutes, not men, if we did not interfere with the savage ; but if we 
thrust ourselves into a crowd with a large bludgeon, and belabour 
our neighbours, with the hope that the spectators would cry, ' See 
what a bold, strong fellow that is !' — then we should be only playing 
the madman from the motive of the coxcomb. I fear you will find, in 
the military history of the Prench and English, the application of my 
parable." 

" Yet still, I confess, there is a gallantry, and a nobleman-like and 
Norman spirit in the whole French nation, which make me forgive 
many of their excesses, and think they are destined for great purposes, 
when experience shall have sobered their hot bood. Some nations, 
as some men, are slow in arriving at maturity ; others seem men 
in their cradle. The English, thanks to their sturdy Saxon origin, 
elevated, not depressed, by the Norman infusion, never were chil- 
dren. The difference is striking, when you regard the represen- 
tatives of both in their great men — whether writers or active 
citizens." 

"Yes," said De Montaigne, "in Milton and Cromwell there is 
nothing of the brilliant child. I cannot say as much for Voltaire or 
Napoleon. Even Richelieu the ''""uliest of our statesmen, had R) 



ERNEST MiJ-TItAVtlis.. 85 

much of the French infant in him as to fancy umscii a bean gargoa, a 
gallant, a wit, and a poet. As for the Racine school of writers, they 
were not out of the leading-strings of imitai ion— cold copyists of a 
pseudo-classic — in which they saw the form, and never caught the 
spirit. AYhat so little Roman, Greek, Hebrew, as their Roman, 
Greek, and Hebrew dramas ? Your rude Shakspeare's Julius Caesar 
— even his Troilus and Cressida — have the ancient spirit, precisely 
.'is tlicy are imitations of nothing ancient. But our Frenchmen 
copied the giant images of old, just as the school-girl copies a 
drawing, by holding it up to the window, and tracing the lines on silver- 
paper." 
"But your new writers — De Stael — Chateaubriand?"* 
" I find no fault with the sentimentalists," answered the severe 
critic, "than that of exceeding feebleness — they have no bone and 
muscle in their genius — all is flaccid and rotund in its feminine 
symmetry. They seem to think that vigour consists in florid phrases 
and little aphorisms, jcaA. delineate all the mighty tempests of the 
numan heart with the polished prettiness of a miniature-painter on 
ivory. No ! — these two are children of another kind — affected, tricked- 
out. well-dressed children — very clever, very precocious — but children 
still. Their winnings, and their sentimentalities, and their egotism, 
and their vanity, cannot interest masculine beings who know what life 
and its stern objects are." 

" Your brother-in-law," said Maltravers, with a slight smile, " must 
find in you a discouraging censor." 

" My poor Castruccio," replied De Montaigne, with a half-sigh; "he 
is one of those victims whom I believe to be more common than we 
dream of — men whose aspirations ar3 above their powers. I agree 
with a great German writer, that in the first walks of Art no man 
has a right to enter, unless he is convinced that he has strength and 
speed for the goal. Castruccio might be an amiable member of society, 
nay, an able and useful man, if he would apply the powers he possesses 
io the rewards they may obtain. He has talent enough to win him 
reputation in an? profession but that of a poet." 

" But authors who obtain immortality are not always first-rate." 
"First-rate in their way, I suspect ; even if that way be false or 
trivial. They must be connected with the history of their literature ; 
you must be able to say of them, * In this school, be it bad or good, 
they exerted such and such an influence ;' in a word, they must form 
a link in the great chain of a nation's authors, which may be after- 
wards forgotten by the superficial, but without which the chain would 
be incomplete. And thus, if not first-rate for all time, they have 
been first-rate in their own day. But Castruccio is only the echo of 
others— he can neither found a school nor ruin one. Yet this " (again 
added De Montaigne after a pause) — " this melancholy malady in mj 
brother-in-law would cure itself, perhaps, if he were not Italian. In 
your animated and bustling country, after sufficient 'lisappointmentas 
a poet, he would glide into some other calling, and his vanity and 

At the time of this conversation, the Inter school, mlorned by Victoi Hugo, 
who, with notions of Art elaborately wronjr, i* still a mail uf cxtraorC.nary feeniu* 
had not rUen into its present equivocal reynuair."- 



86 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

craving for effect would find a rational and manly outlet. But in 
Italy, what can a clever man do, if he is not a poet, or a robber ? If 
he love his country, that crime is enough to unfit him for civil employ- 
ment, and his mind cannot stir a step in the bold channels of specula- 
tion without falling foul of the Austrian or the Pope. No ; the best 
I can hope for Castruccio is, that he will end in an antiquary, and 
dispute about ruins with the Romans. Better that than mediocre 
poetry." 

Maltravers was silent, and thoughtful. Strange to say, De Mon- 
taigne's views did not discourage his own new and secret ardour for 
inteEectual triumphs; not because he felt that he was now able to 
achieve them, but because he felt the iron of his own nature, and 
knew that a man who has iron in his nature must ultimately hit upon 
some way of shaping the metal into use. 

The host and guest were now joined by Castruccio himself — silent 
and gloomy as indeed he usually was, especially in the presence of De 
Montaigne, witli whom he felt his " self-love " wounded ; for though 
he longed to despise his hard brother-in-law, the young poet was 
compelled to acknowledge that De Montaigne was not a man to be 
despised. 

Maltravers dined with the De Montaignes, and spent the evening 
with them. He could not but observe that Castruccio, who affected 
in his verses the softest sentiments — who was indeed, by original 
nature, tender and gentle — had become so completely warped by that 
worst of all mental vices — the eternally pondering on his own excel- 
lencies, talents, mortifications, and ill-usage, that he never con- 
tributed to the gratification of those around trim ; he had none of the 
tittle arts of social benevolence, none of the playful youth of disposi 
tion which usually belongs to the good-hearted, and for which men 01 
a master-genius, however elevated their studies, however stern or re- 
served to the vulgar world, are commonly noticeable amidst the friends 
they love, or in the home they adorn. Occupied with one dream, cen- 
tred in self, the young Italian was sullen and morose to all who did 
not sympathise with his own morbid fancies. From the children — the 
sister — the friend — the wbole living earth, he fled to a poem on Soli- 
tude, or stanzas upon Fame. Maltravers said to himself, " I will 
never be an author — I will never sigh for renown — if I tm to purchase 
shadows at such a price !" 



BRNB8T MALTRAYBM. 



CHAPTER IV. 

" It cannot be too deeply impressed on the mind, that application is the price to 
be paid for mental acquisitions, and that it is as absurd to expect them without it, 
as to hope for a harvest where we have not sown the seed." 

" In everything we do, we may be possibly lay'iig a train of consequences, tha 
operation of which may terminate only with our existence." 

Bailey : Essays on the Form*.tioH and Publication of Opinions. 

Trior, passed and autumn was far advanced towards winter ; still 
Maltravers lingered at Como. He saw little of any other family tnan 
that of the De Montaignes, and the greater part of his time was 
necessarily spent alone. His occupation continued to be that of 
making experiments of his own powers, and these gradually became 
bolder and more comprehensive. He took care, however, not to show 
his " Diversions of Como " to his new friends : he wanted no audience 
—he dreamt of no Public ; he desired merely to practise his own 
mind. He became aware, of his own accord, as he proceeded, that a 
man can neither study with much depth, nor compose with much art, 
unless he has some definite object before him ; in the first, some one 
branch of knowledge to master ; in the last, some one conception to 
work out. Maltravers fell back upon his boyish passion for meta- 
ihysicial speculation; but with what different results did he now 
wrestle with the subtle schoolmen, — now that he had practically known 
mankind ! How insensibly new lights broke in upon him, as he 
threaded the labyrinth of cause and effect, by which we seek to arrive 
at that curious and biform monster — our own nature. His mind be- 
came saturated, as it were, with these profound studies and meditations ; 
and when at length he paused from them, he felt as if he had not been 
living in solitude, but had gone through a process of action in the 
busy world : so much juster, so much clearer, had become his know- 
led^ of himself and others. But though these researches coloured, 
tV.ey did not limit his intellectual pursuits. Poetry and the lighter 
letters became to him, not merely a relaxation, but a critical and 
thoughtful study. He delighted to penetrate into the causes that have 
made the aiiy webs spun bv men's fancies so permanent and powerful 
in their influence over the hard, work -day world. And what a lovely 
scene — what a sky — what an air wheiein to commence the projects of 
that ambit ioa which seeks to establish an empire in the hearts and 
memories of mankind ! I believe it has a great effect on the future 
labours of a writer, — the place where he first dreams that it is his 
destiny to write ! 

i'rom these jrarsuits Ernest was aroused by another letter from 
Cleveland. His kind friend had been disappointed and vexed that 
Maltravers did not follow his advice, and return to England. He had 
shown his displeasure by not answering Ernest's letter of excuses; but 
lately he had heen seized with a dangerous illness which reduced him 



88 MUTEST MAI.TUATEB3. 

to tlie brink of tlie grave ; and with a heart softened by the exhaustion 
of the frame, he now wrote in the first moments of convalescence to 
Maltravers, informing him of his attack and danger, and once more 
urging him to return. _ The thought that Cleveland — the dear, kind 
gentle guardian of his youth — had been near unto death, that he 
might never more have hung upon that fostering hand, nor replied to 
that paternal voice, smote Ernest with terror and remorse. He re- 
solved instantly to return to England, and made Ms preparations 
accordingly. 

He went to take leave of the De Montaignes. Teresa was trying 
to teach her first-born to read ; — and, seated Dy the open window of the 
villa, in her neat, not precise, dishabille — with the little boy's delicate, 
yet bold and healthy countenance looking up fearlessly at hers, while 
she was endeavouring to initiate him — half gravely, half laughingly— 
into the mysteries of monosyllables, the pretty boy and the fair young 
mother made a delightful picture. De Montaigne was reading the 
Essays of his celebrated namesake, in whom he boasted, I know not 
with what justice, to claim an ancestor. From time to time he looked 
fromthepageto take a glance atthe progressof his heir,and keepup with 
the march of intellect. But he did not interfere with the maternal lecture ; 
he was wise enough to know that there is a kind of sympathy between 
a child and a mother, which is worth all the grave superiority of a 
father in making learning palatable to young years. He was far too 
clever a man not to despise all the systems of forcing infants under 
knowledge-frames, which are the present fashiom. He knew that 
philosophers never made a greater mistake than in insisting so much 
upon beginning abstract education from the cradle. It is quite enough 
to attend to an infant's temper, and correct that cursed predilection 
for telling fibs which falsifies all Dr. Reid's absurd theory about innate 
propensities to truth, and makes the prevailing epidemic of the nursery. 
Above all, what advantage ever compensates for hurting a child's 
health or breaking his spirit ? Never let him learn, more than you 
can help it, the crushing bitterness of fear. A bold child who looks 
you in the face, speaks the truth and shames the devil ; that is the 
stuff of which to make good and brave — ay, and wise men ! 

Maltravers entered, unannounced, into this charming family party, 
and stood unobserved for a few moments, by the open door. The little 
pupil was the first to perceive him, and, forgetful of monosyllables, ran 
to greet him t for Maltravers, though gentle rather than gay, was a 
favourite with children, and his fair, calm, gracious countenance did 
more for him with them, than if, like cSoldsmith's BurchelL his pockets 
had been filled with gingerbread and apples. " Ah, fie on you, Mr. 
Maltravers!" cried Teresa, rising; "you have blown away all tlie 
characters I have been endeavouring this last hour to imprint upon 
sand." 

" Not so, Signora," said Maltravers, seating himself, and placing 
the child on his knee ; " my young friend will set to work again with 
a greater gusto after this little break in upon his labours." 

" You will stay with us all day, I hope r " said De Montaigne. 

"Indeed," said Maltravers, "I am come to ask permission to do so,, 
for to-morrow I depart for England." 



ERNEST MALTRAVEIiS. 89 

"Is it possible ?" cried Teresa. "Howsuddon! How we shall miss 
you ! Oh ! don't po. But perhaps you have bad news from England." 
" I have news that summon me hence," replied Maltravers ; " my 
guardian and second father has been dangerously ill. I am uneasy 
about him, and reproach myself for having forgotten him so long in 
your seductive society." 

" I am really sorry "to lose yon," said De Montaigne, with greater 
warmth in his tones than in his words. " I hope heartily we shall 
meet again soon : you will come, perhaps, to Pans ?" 
" Probably," said Maltravers ; and you, perhaps, to England ? " 

" Ah, how 1 should like it ! " exclaimed Teresa. 

"No, you would not" said her husband: "you would not like 
England at all ; you would call it triste beyond measure. It is one of 
those countries of which a native should be £roud, but which has no 
amusement for a stranger, precisely because lull of such serious and 
stirring occupations to the citizens. The pleasantest countries for 
trangcrs are the worst countries for natives (witness Italy), and 
•\ce versa." 

Teresa shook her dark curls, and would not be convinced. 

" And where is Castruccio ? " asked Maltravers. 

"In his boat on the lake," replied Teresa. "He will be incon- 
solable at your departure : you are the only person he can understand. 
or who understands him ; the only person in Italy — I had almost said 
in the whole world." 

" Well, we shall meet at dinner," said Ernest ; " meanwhile, let me 
prevail on you to accompany me to the Pliniana. I wish to say 
farewell to that crystal spring." 

Teresa, delighted at any excursion, readily consented. 

" And 1 too, mamma," cried the child ; " and my little sister ? " 

" Oh, certainly," said Maltravers, speaking for the parents. 

So the party was soon ready, and they pushed off in the clear genial 
noon-tide (for November in Italy is as early as September in the 
North), across the sparkling and dimpled waters. The children 
prattled, and the grown-up people talked on a thousand matters. It 
was a pleasant day, that last day at Como ! Eor the farewells of 
friendship have indeed something of the melancholy, but not the 
anguish, of those of love. Perhaps it would be better if we could 
get rid of love altogether. Life would go on smoother and happier 
without it. Friendship is the wine of existence, but love is the 
dram-drinking. 

When they returned, they found Castruccio seated on the lawn. 
He did not appear so much dejected at the prospect of Ernest's 
departure as Teresa had anticipated ; for Castruccio Cesarini was "a 
very' jealous man, and he had lately been chagrined and discontented 
with seeing the delight that the De Montaignes took in Ernest's 
society. 

"Why is this?" he often asked himself; "why are they more 

E leased with this stranger's society than mine? My ideas are as 
:esh, as original ; I have as much genius, yet even my dry brother-in- 
law allows his talents, and predicts that he will be an eminent man 
while /—No !— one is not a prophet in one's own country ! " 



90 E1UTEST MALTJiAVERS. 

Unhappy young man ! liis mind bore all the rank weeds of the 
morbid poetical character, and the weeds choked up the flowers that 
the soil, properly cultivated, should alone bear. Yet that crisis in life 
awaited Castruccio, in which a sensitive and poetical man is made or 
marred ; the crisis in which a sentiment is replaced by the passions — 
in which love for some real object gathers the scattered rays of the 
heart into a focus : out of that ordeal he might pass a purer and 
manlier being — so Maltravers often hoped. Maltravers then little 
thought how closely connected with his own fate was to be that 
passage in the history of the Italian ! Castruccio contrived to take 
Maltravers aside, and as he led the Englishman through the wood 
that backed the mansion, he said, with some embarrassment, " You 
go, I suppose, to London ? " 

"I shall pass through it — can I execute any commission for you ? " 

"Why, yes ; my poems ! — I think of publishing them in England : 
your aristocracy cultivate the Italian letters ; and, perhaps, I may be 
read by the fair and noble — that is the proper audience ol poets. For 
the vulgar herd — I disdain it ! " 

"My dear Castruccio, I will undertake to see your poems pub- 
lished in London, if you wish it ; but do not be sanguine. In England 
we read little poetry, even in our own language, and we are shame- 
fully indifferent to foreign literature." 

" Yes, foreign literature generally, and you are right ; but my poems 
are of another kind. They must command attention in a polished 
and intelligent circle." 

" Well ! let the experiment be tried ; you can hi :ne have the 
poems when we part." 

"I thank you," said Castruccio, in a joyous tone, pressing his 
friend's hand ; and for the rest of that evening, he seemed an altered 
being; he even caressed the children, and did not sneer at the grave 
conversation of his brother-in-law. 

When Maltravers rose to depart, Castruccio gave him the packet ; 
and then, utterly engrossed with his own imagined futurity of fame, 
vanished from the room to indulge his reveries. He cared no longer 
for Maltravers — he had put him to use — he could not be sorry for his 
departure, for that departure was the Avatar of His appearance to a 
new world ! 

A small dull rain was falling, though, at intervals, the stars broke 
through the unsettled clouds, and Teresa did not therefore ventur* 
from the house ; she presented her smooth cheek to the young gues* 
to salute, pressed him by the hand, and bade him adieu with tears m 
her eyes. " Ah ! " said she, " when we meet again, 1 hope you will 
be married — I shall love your wife dearly. There is no happiness hke 
marriage and home ! " and she looked with ingenuous tenderness at 
De Montaigne. 

Maltravers sighed— his thoughts flew back to Alice. Where now 
was that lone and friendless girl, whose innocent love had once 
brightened a home for him ? He answered by a vague and mechanical 
commonplace, and quitted the room with De Montaigne, who insisted 
on seeing him depart. As they neared the lake, De Montaigne broke 
the silence. 



ERNEST HALTKAVEKS. 91 

"My dear Maltravers,"he said, with a serious and thoughtful affection 
in lus voice, " we may not meet again for years. I have a warm interest 
in your happiness and career — yes, career — I repeat the word. I do not 
habitually seek to inspire young men with ambition. Enough for 
most of them to be good and honourable citizens. But in your case it 
is different. I see in you the earnest and meditative, not rash and 
overweening youth, which is usually productive of a distinguished 
manhood, Your mind is not yet settled, it is true ; but it is fast 
becoming clear and mellow from the first ferment of boyish dreams 
and passions. You have everything in your favour, — competence, 
birth, connections ; and, above all, you are an Englislunan ! You have 
a mighty stage, on which, it is true, you cannot establish a footing 
without merit and without labour — so much the better; in which 
strong and resolute rivals will urge you on to emulation, and then 
competition will task your keenest powers. Think what a glorious 
fate it is, to have an influence on the vast, but ever-growing mind of 
such a country, — to feeL when you retire from the busy scene, that 
you have played an unforgotten part — that you have been the medium, 
under God's great will, of circulating new ideas throughout the world 
— of upholding the glorious priesthood of the Honest and the Beautiful. 
This is the true ambition ; the desire of mere personal notoriety is 
vanity, not ambition. Do not then be lukewarm or supine. The 
trait I have observed in you," added the Frenchman, with a smile, 
" most prejudicial to your chances of distinction is, that you are too 
philosophical, too apt to cui bono all the exertions that interfere with 
the indolence of cultivated leisure. And you must not suppose, 
Maltravers, that an active career will be a path of roses. At present 
you have no enemies ; but the moment you attempt distinction, yon 
will be abused, calumniated, reviled. You will be shocked at the 
wrath you excite, and sigh for your old obscurity, and consider, as 
Franklin has it, that ' you have paid too dear for your whistle.' But, 
in return for individual enemies, what a noble recompense to have 
made the Public itself your friend ; perhaps even Posterity your 
familiar ! Besides," added De Montaigne, with almost a religious 
solemnity in his voice, " there is a conscience of the head as well as 
of the heart, and in old age we feel as much remorse, if we have 
wasted our natural talents, as if we have perverted our natural 
virtues. The profound and exultant satisfaction with which a man 
who knows that he has not lived in vain — that he has entailed on the 
world an heir-loom of instruction or delight — looks back upon de- 
parted struggles, is one of the happiest emotions of which the 
conscience can be capable. What, indeed, are the petty faults we 
commit as individuals, affecting but a narrow circle, ceasing with our 
own lives, to the incalculable and everlasting good we may produce 
as public men by one book or by one law ? Depend upon it that the 
Almighty, who sums up all the good and all the evil done by his 
creatures in a just balance, will not judge the august benefactors of' 
the world with the same severity as those drones of society, who have 
no great services to show in the eternal ledger, as a set-off to the 
indulgence of their small vices. These things rightly considered, 
M.dtravera. vou will have every inducement that can tempt a lofty 



93 ERNEST MA1TKAVEKS. 

mind and a pure ambition to awaken from the voluptuous indolencs 
of the literary Sybarite, and contend worthily in the world's wide 
Altis for a great prize." 

Maltravers never before felt so flattered — so stirred into hign 
resolves. The stately eloquence, the fervid encouragement of this 
man, usually so cold and fastidious, roused him like the sound of a 
trumpet. He stopped short, his breath heaved thick, his cheek 
flushed. "De Montaigne," said he, " your words have cleared away 
a thousand doubts and scruples— they have gone right to my heart. 
For the first time I understand what fame is — what the object, and 
what the reward of labour ! Visions, hopes, aspirations, I may have 
had before — for months, a new spirit has been fluttering within me. I 
have felt the wings breaking from the shell. But all was confused, 
dim, uncertain. I doubted the wisdom of effort, with life so short, 
and the pleasures of youth so sweet. I now look no longer on life 
but as a part of the eternity to which I feel we were born ; and I 
recognise the solemn truth that our objects, to be worthy life, should 
be worthy of creatures in whom the living principle never is extinct. 
Farewell ! come joy or sorrow, failure or success, I will struggle to 
deserve your friendship." 

Maltravers sprang "into his boat, and the shades of night boc-sj 
matched him from the lingering gaze of De Montaigne. 



H3NEST MAl/HLAVKM. 



BOOK IV 



CHATTER I. 

" I, alas ! 
Have lived but on this earth a few sad years ; 
And so my lot was ordered, that a father 
First turned the moments of awakening life 
To drops, each poisoning youth's sweet hope." 

Cenci. 

From accompanying Maltravers along the noiseless progress of 
mental education, we are now called awhile to cast our glances back 
at the ruder and harsher ordeal which Alice Darvil was ordained to 
pass. Along her path poetry shed no flowers, nor were her lonely 
steps towards the distant shrine at which her pilgrimage found its rest 
lighted by the mystic lamp of science, or guided by the thousand stars 
which are never dim in the heavens for those favoured eyes from which 
genius and fancy have removed many of the films of clay. Not along 
the aerial and exalted ways that wind far above the homes and busi- 
ness of common men — the solitary Alps of Spiritual Philosophy — 
wandered the desolate steps of the child of poverty and sorrow. On 
the beaten and rugged highways of common life, with a weary heart, 
and with bleeding feet, she went her melancholy course. But the goal 
which is the great secret of life, the summum arcanum of all philoso- 
phy, whether the Practical or the Ideal was, perhaps, no less attain- 
able for that humble girl than for the elastic step and aspiring heart 
of him who thirsted after the Great, and almost believed in the Im- 
possible. 

We return to that dismal night in which Alice was torn from the 
roof of her lover. It was long before she recovered her consciousness 
of what had passed, and gained a full perception of the fearful revo- 
lution which nad taken place in her destinies. It was then a grey and 
dreary morning twilight ; and the rude but covered vehicle which bore 
her was rolling along the deep ruts of an unfrequented road, winding 
among the unenclosed and mountainous wastes that, in England, usu- 
ally betoken the neighbourhood of the sea. With a shudder Alice 
looked round : Walters, her father's accomplice, lay extended at her 
feet, and his heavy breathing showed that he was fast asleep. Darvil 
himself was urging on the jaded and sorry horse, and his broad back 
was turned towards Alice ; the rain, from which, in his position, he 
was but ill protected by the awning, dripped dismally from his slouched 
hat ; and now, as he turned round, and his sinister and gloomy gaze 



94 ERNEST MALTKAVEKS. 

rested upon the face of Alice, his bad countenance, rendered more 
haggard by the cold raw light of the cheerless dawn, completed the 
hideous picture of unveiled and ruffianly wretchedness. 

_ " Ho, lio ! Alley, so you are come to your senses," said he, with a 
kind of joyless grin. " I am glad of it, for I can have no fainting fine 
ladies with me. You have had a long holiday, Alley ; you must now 
learn once more to work for your poor father. Ah, you have been 
d — — d sly ; but never mind the past — I forgive it. You must not run 
away again without my leave ; if you are fond of sweethearts, I won't 
balk you — but your old father must go shares, Alley." 

Alice could hear no more : she covered her face with the cloak that 
had been thrown about her, and though she did not faint, her senses 
seemed to be locked and paralysed. By-and-by Walters woke, and 
the two men, heedless of her presence, conversed upon their plans. By 
degrees she recovered sufficient self-possession to listen, in the in- 
stinctive hope that some plan of escape might be suggested to her. 
But from what she could gather of the incoherent and various pro- 
jects they discussed, one after another — disputing upon each with 
frightful oaths and scarce intelligible slang, she could only learn that 
it was resolved at all events to leave the district in which they were 
— ;but whither, seemed yet all undecided. The cart halted at last at a 
miserable-looking hut, which the signpost announced to be an inn that 
afforded good accommodation to travellers ; to which announcement 
was annexed the following epigrammatic distich : — 

" Old Tom, he is the best of gin ; 
Drink him once, and you'll drink him agin .'" 

The hovel stood so remote from all other habitations, and the 
waste around was so bare of trees, and even shrubs, that Alice saw 
with despair that all hope of flight in such a place would be indeed a 
chimera. But to make assurance doubly sure, Darvil himself, lifting 
her from the cart, conducted her up a broken and unlighted staircase, 
into a sort of loft rather than a room, and pushing her rudely in, turned 
the key upon her, and descended. The weather was cold, the livid 
damps hung upon the distained walls, and there was neither fire nor 
hearth ; but thinly clad as she was — her cloak and shawl her principal 
covering — she did not feel the cold, for her heart was more chilly than 
the airs of heaven. At noon an old woman brought her some food, 
which, consisting of fish and poached game, was better than might 
have been expected in such a place, and what would have been deemed 

feast under her father's roof. With an inviting leer, the crone 
^pinted to a pewter measure of raw spirits that accompanied the 
iands, and assured her, in a cracked and maudlin voice, that " ' Old 
Tom ' was a kinder friend than any of the young fellers ! " This intru- 
sion ended, Alice was again left alone till dusk, when Darvil entered 
with a bundle of clothes, such as are worn by the peasants of that pri- 
mitive district of England. 

" There, Alley," said he, "put on this warm toggery; finery won't 
do now. We must leave no scent in the track ; the hounds are after 
us, my little blowen. Here's a nice stuff gown for you, and a red 
■jloak that would frighten a turkey-cock. As to the other cloak and 



KKXEST MAXT1U.VEES. 95 

shawl, don't be afraid ; tbey shan't go to the pop-shop, but we'll take 
iare ol them against we get to some large town where there are voting 
fellows wit li bluut in their pockets ; for you seem to have already 
found out that your face is your fortune, Alley. Come, make haste; 
we must be starting. I shall come up for you in ten minutes. Pish ! 
don't be faint-hearted; here, take 'Old Tom' — take it, I say. 
What, you won't? Well, here's to your health, and a better taste 
to you ? " 

And now, as the door once more closed upon Darvil, tears for the 
first time came to the relief of Alice. It was a woman's weakness 
that procured for her that woman's luxury. Those garments — they 
were Ernest's gift— Ernest's taste ; they were like the last relic of 
that delicious life wluch now seemed to have fled for ever. All traces 
of that life— of liim, the loving, the protecting, the adored; all 
trace of herself, as she had been re-created by love, was to be lost 
to her for ever. It was (as she had read somewhere, in the little 
elementary volumes that Dounded her historic lore) like that last 
fatal ceremony in which those condemned for lite to the mines of 
Siberia are clothed with the slave's livery, their past name and 
record eternally blotted out, and thrust into the vast wastes, from 
which even the mercy of despotism, should it _ ever re-awaken, 
cannot recall them ; for all evidence of them — all individuality — all 
mark to distinguish them from the universal herd, is expunged from 
the world's calendar. She was still sobbing in vehement and unre- 
strained passion, when Darvil re-entered. " What, not dressed yet ?" 
he exchiimed, in a voice of impatient rage; " harkye, this won't do. 
If in two minutes you are not ready, I'll send up John Walters to help 
you ; and lie is a rough hand, 1 can tell you." _ 

This threat recalled Alice to herself. "I will do as you wish," said 
she, meekly. 

" Well, then, be quick," said Darvil ; " they are now putting the 
horse to. And mark me, girl, your father is running away from the 
gallows, and that thought does not make a man stand upon scruples. 
If you once attempt to give me the slip, or do or say anything 
that can bring the oulkies upon us— by the devil in hell— if, indeed, 
there be hell or devil — my knife shall become better acquainted with 
that throat — so look to it !" 

And this was the father — this the condition — of her whose ear had 
for months drunk no other sound than the whispers of flattering love 
— the murmurs of Passion from the lips of Poetry. 

They continued their journey till midnight ; they then arrived at 
an inn, little different from the last ; but here Alice was no longer 
consigned to solitude. In a long room, reeking with smoke, sat from 
twenty to thirty ruffians before a table, on which mugs and vessels of 
strong potations were formidably interspersed with sabres and pistols. 
They received Walters and Darvil with a shout of welcome, and 
wcrjld hare crowded somewhat unceremoniously round Alice, if her 
father, whose well-known desperate and brutal ferocity made him a 
man to be respected in such an assembly, nad not said, sternly, 
" Hands off, messmates, and make way by the fire for my little girl- 
she is meat for your masters." 



96 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

So saying, he pushed Alice down into a huge chair in the chimney 
nook, and, seating himself near her, at the end of the table, hastened 
to turn the conversation. 

"' Well, captain," said he, addressing a small thin man at the head 
of the table, " I and Walters have fairly cut and run — the land has a 
bad air for us, and we now want the sea-breeze to cure the rope 
fever. So, knowing this was your night, we have crowded sail, and 
here we are. You must give the girl there a lift, though I know you 
don't like such lumber, and we'll run ashore as soon as we can." 

" She seems a quiet little body," replied the captain ; " and we 
would do more than that to oblige an old friend like you. In half an 
hour Oliver* puts on his nightcap, and we must then be off." 

" The sooner the better." 

The men now appeared to forget the presence of Atice, who sat 
faint with fatigue and exhaustion, for she had been too sick at heart to 
touch the food brought to her at their previous halting-place, gazing 
abstractedly upon the fire. Her father, before their departure, made 
her swallow some morsels of sea-biscuit, though each seemed to choke 
her : and then, wrapped in a thick boat-cloak, she was placed in a 
small well-built cutter; and as the sea- winds whistled round her, the 
present cold and the past fatigues lulled her miserable heart into the 
arms of the charitable Sleep. 



CHAPTER H. 

•' You are once more a free woman ; 
Here I discharge your bonds." 

The Custom of the Country. 

And many were thy trials, poor child ; many that, were this book 
to germinate into volumes, more numerous than monk ever composed 
upon the lives of saint or martyr (though a hundred volumes con- 
tained the record of two years only in the life of St. Anthony), it 
would be impossible to describe! We may talk of the fidelity of 
books, but no man ever wrote even his own biography, without being 
compelled to omit at least nine-tenths of the most important mate- 
rials. What are three — what six volumes ? We live six volumes in 
a day ! Thought, emotion, joy, sorrow, hope, fear, how prolix would 
they be, if they might each tell their hourly tale! But man's life 
itself is a brief epitome of that which is infinite and everlasting; and 
his most accurate confessions are a miserable abridgment of a hurried 
and confused compendium ! 

It was about three months, or more, from the night in which Alice 
wept herself to sleep amongst those wild companions, when she con- 
trived to escape from her father's vigilant eye. They were then on 
the coast of Ireland. Darvil had separated himself from Walters — 
from his seafaring companions ; he had run through the greater part 

* The moon. 



ERNEST malthaveus, 97 

oi the monr y his crimes had got together ; he began seriously to 
attempt put tin?: into execution his horrible design of depending for 
support upon the sale of his daughter. Now Alice might have Deen 
moulded into sinful purposes, before 'she knew Maltravers ; but from 
that hour her very error made her virtuous — she had comprehended, 
the moment she loved, what was meant by female honour; and, by a 
sudden revelation, she had purchased modesty, delicacy of thought 
and soul, in the sacrifice of herself. Much of our morality (prudent 
and right upon system), with respect to the first false step of 
women, leads us, as we all know, into barbarous errors, as to indi- 
vidual exceptions. Where, from pure and confiding love, that first 
false step has been taken, many a woman has been saved, in after- 
life, from a thousand temptations. The poor unfortunates, who 
crowd our streets and theatres, have rarely, in the first instance, 
been corrupted by love; but by poverty, and the contagion of cir- 
cumstance and example. It is a miserable cant phrase to call them 
1 he victims of seduction • they have been the victims of hunger, of 
vanity, of curiosity, of em. female counsels ; but the seduction of love 
hardly ever conducts to a life of vice. If a woman has once really 
loved, the beloved object makes an impenetrable barrier between her 
and other men ; their advances terrify and revolt — she would rather 
die than be unfaithful even to a memory. Though man loves the sex, 
woman loves only the individual ; and the more she loves him, the 
more cold she is to the species. For the passion of woman is in the 
sentiment — the fancy — the heart. It rarely has much to do with the 
coarse images with which boys and old men — the inexperienced and 
the worn out — connect it. 

But Alice, though her blood ran cold at her terrible father's lan- 
guage, saw in his very design the prospect of escape. In an hour of 
drunkenness he thrust her from the house, and stationed himself to 
watch her — it was in the city of Cork. She formed her resolution 
instantly — turned up a narrow street, and fled at full speed. Darvil 
endeavoured in vain to keep pace with her — his eyes dizzy, his steps 
reeling with intoxication. She heard his last curse dying from a dis- 
tance on the air, and her fear winged her steps ; she paused at last, 
and found herself on the outskirts of the town : — She paused, over- 
come, and deadly faint ; and then, for the first time, she felt that a 
strange and new life was stirring within her own. She had long since 
known that she bore in her womb the unborn ofl'spring of Maltravers, 
and that knowledge had made her struggle and live on. But now, 
the embryo had quickened into being — it moved — it appealed to her — 
a thing unseen, unknown ; but still it was a living creature appealing 
to a mother ! Oh, the thrill, half of ineffable tenderness, half of mys- 
terious terror, at that moment ! — What a new chapter in the life of 
woman did it not announce ! — Now, then, she must be watchful over 
herself — must guard against fatigue — must wrestle with despair. 
Solemn was the trust committed to her — the life of another— the child 
of the Adored. It was a summer night — she sat on a rude stone, the 
city on one side, with its lights and lamps; — the whitened fields 
beyond, with the Tioon and the stars above : and above she raised her 
i'-reaming eyes, and sbc thought that God the Protector, smiled upon 

H 



98 BBNEST MALTEAVEItS. 

her from the face of tae sweet skies. So, after a pause and a silent 
prayer, she rose and resumed her way. When she was wearied she 
crept into a shed in a farmyard, and slept, for the first time for weeks, 
the calm sleep of security and hope. 



CHAPTER IE 

" How like a prodigal doth she return 
With over-weathered ribs and ragged sails." 

Merchant of Venue. 

" Mer. What are these ? 
Uncle. The tenants. 

Beaumont and Fletcher. — Wit without Mmey. 

li was just two years from the night in which Alice had been torn 
from the cottage: and, at that time, Maltravers was wandering 
amongst the ruins of ancient Egypt, when, upon the very lawn where 
Alice and her lover had so often loitered hand in hand, a gay party of 
children and young people were assembled. The cottage had been 
purchased by an opulent and retired manufacturer. He had raised 
the low thatched roof another story high — and blue slate had replaced 
the thatch — and the pretty verandahs overgrown with creepers had 
been taken down, because Mrs. Hobbs thought they gave the rooms a 
dull look ; and the little rustic doorway had been replaced by four 
Ionic pillars in stucco ; and a new dining-room, twenty-two feet by 
eighteen, had been built out _ at one wing, and a new drawing-room 
iad been built over the new dining-room. And the poor little cottage 
ooked quite grand and villa-like. The fountain had been taken away, 
necause it made the house damp ; and there was such a broad carriage- 
arive from the gate to the house ! The gate was no longer the modest 
arisen wooden gate, ever ajar with its easy latch ; but a tall, cast-iron, 
well-locked gate, between two pillars to match the porch. And on 
one of the gates was a brass-plate, on which was graven, " Hobbs' 
Lodge— Ring the bell." The lesser Hobbses and the bigger Hobbses 
were all on the lawn — many of them fresh from school — for it was the 
half-holiday of a Saturday afternoon. There was mirth, and noise, 
and shouting, and whooping, and the respectable old couple looked 
calmly on. Hobbs the father smoking his pipe (alas, it was not 
the dear meerschaum !) ; Hobbs the mother talking to her eldest 
daughter (a fine young woman, three months married, for love, to a 
poor man), upon the proper number of days that a leg of mutton 
(weight ten pounds) should be made to last. " Always, my dear, 
have large joints, they are much the most saving. Let me see — what 
a noise the boys do make ! No, my love, the ball's not here." 

" Mamma, it is under your petticoats." 

" La, child, how naughty you are !" 

" Holla, you sir ! it's my turn to go in now. Biddy, wait,— girls 
ksve no innings — girls only fag out." 



EJiXEST MALTRAVEItS. Sfi 

" Bob, you cheat." 

" Pa, Ned says I cheat." 

" Very likely, my dear, you are to be a lawyer." 

" Where was I, my dear?" resumed Mrs. Hobbs, resettling herself, 
and readjusting the invaded petticoats. " Oh, about the leg of mut-* 
ton !— yes, large joints are the best — the second day a nice hash, with 
dumplings ; the third, broil the bone— your husband is sure to like 
broiled bones !— and then keep the scraps for Saturday's pie ; — you 
know, mv dear, your father and I were worse off than you when we 
began. But now we have everything that is handsome about us — 
nothing like management. Saturday pies are very nice things, and 
then you start clear with your joint on Sunday. A good wife like you 
should never neglect the Saturday's pie ! " 

" les," said the bride, mournfully ; " but Mr. Tiddy dees not like 
pies." 

" Not like pies ! that's very odd— Mr. Hobbs likes pies — perhaps 
you don't have the crust made thick eno' Howsomever, you can 
make it up to him with a pudding. A wife should always sfudy her 
husband's tastes — what is a man's home without love ? Still a hus- 
band ought not to be aggravating, and dislike pie on a Saturday !" 

" Holla ! I say, ma, do you see that 'ere gipsy ? I shall go and have 
mv fortune told." 

'"Audi— and I!" 

" Lor, if there ben't atramper !" cried Mr. Hobbs, rising indig- 
nantly ; " what can the parish be about ?" 

The object of these latter remarks, filial and paternal, was a young 
woman in a worn, threadbare cloak, with her face pressed to the 
open-work of the gate, and looking wistfully — oh, how wistfully ! — 
within. The children eagerly ran up to her, but they involuntarily 
.slackened their steps when they drew near, for she was evidently not 
what they had taken her for. No gipsy hues darkened the pale, 
thin, delicate cheek— no gipsy leer lurked in those large blue and 
streaming eyes — no gipsy effrontery bronzed that candid and childish 
brow. As she thus pressed her countenance with convulsive eager- 
ness against the cold bars, the young people caught the contagion of 
inexpressible and half-fearful sadness — they approached almost re- 
spectfully — "Do you want anything here?" said the eldest and 
boldest of the boys. 

•' I— I— surely this is Dale Cottage ?" 

" It was Dale Cottage, it is Hobbs' Ladge now ; can't you read ?" 
said the heir of the Hobbs's honours, losing, in contempt at the girl's 
ignorance, his first impression of sympathy. 

" And — and — Mr. Butler, is he gone too ?" 

Poor child ! she spoke as if the cottage was gone, not improved ; 
the Ionic portico had no charm for her ! 

" Butler ! — no such person lives here. Pa, do you know where 
Mr. Butler lives?" 

Pa was now moving up to the place of conference the slow artillery 
of his fair round belly and portly calves. " Butler, no — I know no- 
thing of such a name — no Mr. Butler lives here. Go along with yon 
—ain't you ashamed to beg ?" 

u 2 



10G ERNEST MALTHAVEltS. 

" No Mr. Butler ! " said the girl, gasping for breath, and clinging 
to the gate for support. " Are you sure, sir ?" 

" Sure, yes ! — what do you want with him ?" 

" Oh, papa, she looks faint ! " said one of the girls, deprecatingly — 
" do let her have something to eat, I'm sure she's hungry." 

Mr. Hobbs looked angry ; he had often been taken in, and no rich 
Jinan likes beggars. Generally speaking, the rich man is in the right. 
.But then Mr .Hobbs turned to the suspected tramper's sorrowful face 
and then to his fair pretty child — and his good angel whispered some- 
thing to Mr. Hobbs s heart— and he said, after a pause, " Heaven 
forbid that we should not feel for a poor fellow-creature not so well to 
do as ourselves ! Come in, my lass, and have a morsel to eat." 

The girl did not seem to hear him, and he repeated the invitation, 
approaching to unlock the gate. 

"No, sir," said she, then ; " no, I thank you. I could not come in 
now. I could not eat here. But tell me, sir, I implore you, can you 
not even guess where I may find Mr. Butler ?" 

"Butler!" said Mrs. Hobbs, whom curiosity had now drawn to 
the spot. " I remember that was the name of the gentleman who 
hired the place, and was robbed." 

" Bobbed !" said Mr. Hobbs, falling back and relocking the gate— 

" and the new tea-pot just come home," he muttered inly, " Come, 

be off, child — be off; we know nothing of your Mr. Butlers." 

The young woman looked wildly in his face, cast a hurried glance 
over the altered spot, and then, with a kind of shiver, as if the wind 
had smitten her delicate form too rudely, she drew her cloak more 
closely round her shoulders, and without saying another word, moved 
away. The party looked after her as, with trembling steps, she passed 
clown the road, and all felt that pang of shame which is common to the 
human heart at the sight of a distress it has not sought to soothe. 
But this feeling vanished at once from the breast of Mrs. and Mr. 
Hobbs, when they saw the girl stop where a turn of the road brought 
the gate before her eyes ; and for the first time they perceived, what 
the worn cloak had hitherto concealed, that the poor young thing 
bore an infant in her arms. She halted, she gazed fondly back. Even 
at that distance the despair of her eyes was visible ; and then, as she 
pressed her lips to the infant's brow, they heard a convulsive sob — 
they saw her turn away, and she was gone ! 

"Well, I declare!" 'said Mrs. Hobbs. 

" News for the parish," said Mr. Hobbs ; " and she so young too-! 
— what a shame !" 

" The girls about here are very bad now-a-days, Jenny," said the 
mother to the bride. 

" I see now why she wanted Mr. Butler," quoth Hobbs, with a 
knowing wink — " the slut has come to swear ! " 

And it was for this that Alice had supported her strength— her 
courage— during the sharp pangs of childbirth ; during a severe and 
crushing illness, which for months after her confinement had stretched 
her upon a peasant's bed (the object of the rude but kindly charity 
of an Irish shealing), — for this, day after day, she had whispered, to 
iiersslL " I shall get well, and I will beg my way to the cottage, and 



eunest maltbavebs. 103 

find him there still, and put my little one into his arms, and all will 
be bright again;" — for this, as soon as she could walk without aid, 
had she sefcout on foot from the distant land ; — for this, almost with 
a dog's instinct (for she knew not what way to turn — what county 
the cottage was placed in ; she only knew the name of the neighbour- 
ing town ; and that, populous as it was, sounded strange to the ears 
cf those she asked; and she had often and often been directed wrong) ■ 
—for this, I say, almost with a dog's faithful instinct, had she, in cold 
and heat, in hunger and in thirst, tracked to her old master's home 
her desolate and lonely way ! And thrice had she over-fatigued her- 
self—and thrice again been indebted to humble pity for a bed whereon 
to lay a feverish and broken frame. And once, too, her baby — her 
darling, her life of life, had been ill — had been near unto death, and 
she could not stir till the infant (it was a girl) was well again, and 
could smile in her face and crow. And thus many, many months had 
elapsed, since the day she set out on her pilgrimage, to that on which 
she found its goal. But never, save when the child was ill, had she 
desponded or abated heart and hope. She should see him again, and 
he would kiss her child. And now — no — I cannot paint the might of 
that stunning blow ! She knew not, she dreameel not, of the kind 
precautions Maitravers had taken ; and he had not sufficiently calcu- 
lated on her thorough ignorance of the world. How could she divine 
that the magistrate, not a mile distant from her, could have told her 
all she sought to know ? Could she but have met the gardener — or 
the old woman-servant — all would have been well! These last, in- 
deed, she had the forethought to ask for. But the woman was dead, 
and the gardener bad taken a strange service in some distant county. 
And so died her last gleam of hope. If one person who remembered 
the search of Maitravers had but met and recognised her ! But she 
had been seen by so few — and now the bright, fresh girl was so sadly 
altered ! Her race was not yet run, and many a sharp wind upon 
the mournful seas had the bark to brave, before its haven was found 
st last. 



CHAPTER IV. 

" Patience and sorrow strove 
Which should express her goodliest."— Shakspeark. 

" Je la plains, je la blame, et je suis son appui."*— Voltaire. 

And now Alice felt that she was on the wide world alone, with her 
child— no longer to be protected, but to protect; and after the first 
few days of agony, a new spirit, not indeed of hope, but of endurance, 
passed within her. Her solitary wanderings, with God her only guide, 
had tended greatly to elevate and confirm her character. She felt 
a strong reliance on His mysterious mercy— she felt, too, the re- 

• I pity her, I blame her, and am her support. 



102 EIISEST MALTRAVElvS. 

sponsibiiity of a mother. Thrown for so many months upon ner own 
resources, even for the bread of life, her intellect was unconsciously 
sharpened, and a habit of patient fortitude had strengthened a nature 
originally clinging and femininely soft. She resolved to pass into 
some other country, for she could neither bear the thoughts that 
haunted the neighbourhood around, nor think, without a loathing 
horror, of the possibility of her father's return. Accordingly, one 
day, she renewed her wanderings — and after a week's travel, arrived 
at a small village. Charity is so common in England, it so spon- 
taneously springs up everywhere, like the good seed by the road- 
side, that she had rarely wanted the bare necessaries of existence. 
And her humble manner, and sweet, well-tuned voice, so free from 
the professional whine of mendicancy, had usually its charm for the 
sternest. So she generally obtained enough to buy bread and a night's 
lodging, and, if sometimes she failed, she could bear hunger, and was 
not afraid of creeping into some shed, or, when by the sea-shore, even 
into some sheltering cavern. Her child throve too — for God tempers 
the wind to the shorn lamb ! But now, so far as physical privation 
went, the worst was over. 

It so happened that as Alice was drawing herself wearily along to 
the entrance of the village which was to bound her day's journey, she 
was met by a lady, past middle age, in whose countenance compassion 
was so visible, that Alice would not beg, for she had a strange delicacy 
or pride, or whatever it may be called, and rather begged of the stern 
than of those who looked kindly at her — she did not like to lower her- 
self in the eyes of the last. 

The lady stopped. 

" My poor girl, where are you going ?" 

" Where God pleases, madam," said Alice. 

" Humph ! and is that your own child ? — you are almost a child 
yourself?" 

" It is mine, madam," said Alice, gazing fondly at the infant ; — "it 
is my all!" 

The lady's voice faltered. " Are you married ?" she asked. 

" Married ! — Oh, no, madam !" replied Alice, innocently, yet with- 
out blushing, for she never knew that she had done wrong in loving 
Maltravers. 

The lady drew gently back, but not _ in horror — no, in still deeper 
compassion ; for that lady had true virtue, and she knew that the 
faults of her sex are sufficiently punished to permit Virtue to pity 
them without a sin. 

•' I am sorry for it," she said, however, with greater gravity. "Are 
you travelling to seek the father ?" 

" Ah, madam ! I shall never see him again ! " And Alice wept. 

"What! — he has abandoned you — so young, so beautiful!" added 
the lady to herself. 

" Abandoned me !— no madam ; but it is a long tale. Good evening 
— I thank you kindly for your pity." 

The lady's eyes ran over. 

" Stay," said she ; "tell me frankly where yon are going, and what 
is your object." 



ERNEST HALTKAVEKS. 103 

" Alas ! madam, I am going anywhere, for I Lave no hon>*- ' but I 
wish to live, and work for my living, in order that my chile* -v not 
want for anything. I wish f could maintain myself— he used iv, say 1 
could." 

" He !— your language and manner are not those of a peasant. 
What can you do? — "What do you know?" 

"Music, and work, and— and " 

" Music ! — this is strange ! What were your parents ?' 

Alice shuddered, and hid her face with her hands. 

The lady's interesi was now fairly warmed in her behalf. 

"She has sinned," said she to herself; "but at that age, how 
can one be harsh ?— She must not be thrown upon the world to make 
sin a habit. Follow me," she said, after a little pause: " and think 
you have found a friend." 

The lady then turned from the high-road down a green lane which 
led to a park lodge. This lodge she entered ; and, after a short con- 
versation with the inmate, beckoned to Alice to join her. 

" Janet," said Alice's new protector to a comely and pleasant-eyed 
woman, " this is the young person — you will show her and the infant 
every attention. I shall send down proper clothing for her to-morrow, 
and I shall then Have thought what will be best for her future welfare. 

With that, the lady smiled benignly upon Alice, whose heart was 
too full to speak ; and the door of the cottage closed upon her, and 
Alice thought the day had grown darker. 



CHAPTER V. 

■ Believe me, she has won me much to pity her. 
Alas ! her gentle nature was not made 
To buffet with adversity." — Rowk. 

' Sober he was, and grave from early youth, 
Mindful of forms, but more intent on truth; 
In a light drab he uniformly dress'd, 
And look serene th' unruffled mind express'd. 



• 



Yet might observers in his sparkling eye 

Some observation, some acuteness spy ; 

The friendly thought it keen, the treacherous deem'd it sly} 

Yet not a crime could foe or friend detect, 

His actions all were like his speech correct — 

Chaste, sober, solemn, and devout they named 

Him who was this, and not of this ashamed."— Ciiabbb. 

" I'll on and sound this secret." — Beadmont and I'Ybtcbsb. 

Mas. Leslie, the lady introduced to the reader in the last chapter, 
was a woman of the firmest intellect combined (no unusual combina- 
tion) with the softest heart. She learned Alice's history with admira- 
tion and pity. The natural innocence and honesty of the young 
mother spoke so eloquently in her words and looks, that Mrs. Leslie, 
on hearing her tale, found much less to forgive than she had antici- 



iOi ERNE3T TVTAT.TBA.YEBS. 

paled.- Still she deemed it necessary to enligliten Alice as to the 
crmiinality of the connection she had formed. But here Alice was 
singularly dull — she listened in meek patience to Mrs. Leslie's 
lecture ; bat it evidently made but slight hnpression on her. She had 
not yet seen enough of the Social state, to correct the first impressions 
of the Natural : and all she could say in answer to Mrs. Leslie was, 
— " It may be all very true, madam, but I have been so much better 
since I knew him !" 

But though Alice took humbly any censure upon herself, she would 
not hear a syllable insinuated against Maltravers. When, in a very 
natural indignation, Mrs.^ Leslie denounced him as a destroyer of 
innocence— for Mrs. Leslie could not learn all that extenuated his 
offence — Alice started up with flashing eyes and heaving heart, and 
would have hurried from the only shelter she had in the wide world- 
she would sooner have died — she would sooner even have seen her 
child die, than done that idol of her soul, who, in her eyes, stood 
alone on some pinnacle between earth and heaven, the wrong of hear- 
ing him reviled. With difficulty Mrs. Leslie could restrain, with still 
more difficulty could she pacify and soothe her ; and, for the girl's 
petulance, which, others might have deemed insolent or ungrateful, 
the woman-heart of Mrs. Leslie loved her all the better. The more 
she saw of Alice, and the more she _ comprehended her story and her 
character, the more was she lost in wonder at the romance of which 
this beautiful child had been the heroine, and the more perplexed she 
was as to Alice's future prospects. 

At length, however, when she became acquainted with Alice's 
musical acquirements, which were, indeed, of no common order, a 
light broke in upon her. Here was the source of her future inde- 
pendence. Maltravers, it will be remembered, was a musician of 
consummate skill as well as taste, and Alice's natural talent for the 
art had advanced her, in the space of months, to a degree of perfection 
which it cost others — which it had cost even the quick Maltravers — 
years to obtain. But we learn so rapidly when our teachers are those 
we love ; and it may be observed that the less our knowledge, the 
less perhaps our genius in other things, the more facile are pur attain- 
ments in music, which is a very jealous mistress of the mind. Mrs. 
Leslie resolved to have her perfected in this art, and so enable her to 

become a teacher to others. In the town of C , about thirty 

miles from Mrs. Leslie's house, though in the same county, there was 
no inconsiderable circle of wealthy and intelligent persons ; for it was 
a cathedral town, and the resident clergy drew around them a kind of 
provincial aristocracy. Here, as in most rural towns in England, 
music was much cultivated, both among the higher and middle classes. 
There were amateur concerts, and glee-clubs, and subscriptions for 

sacred music ; and once every five years there was the great C 

Festival. In this town, Mrs. Leslie established Alice : she placed her 
under the roof of a ci-devant music-master, who, having retired from 
nis profession, was no longer jealous of rivals, but who, by handsome 
terms, was induced to complete the education of Alice. It was an 
eligible and comfortable abode, and the music-master and bis wife 
were a good-natured, easy old couple. 



IK.N'EST JIALTB.AVISOS. 108 

Three mouths of resolute and unceasing ^ perseverance, combined 
with the singular ductility and native gifts of Alice, sufficed to render 
her the most promising pupil the good musician had ever accomplished ; 
and in three months more, introduced by Mrs. Leslie to many of the 
:ainilics in the place, Alice was established in a home of her own • 
and what with regular lessons, and occasional assistance at musical 
parties, she was fairly earning what her tutor reasonably pronounced 
to he "a very genteel independence." 

Now, in these arrangements (for we must here go back a little), 
tin re had been one gigantic difficulty of conscience in one party, of 
feeling in another, to surmount. Mrs. Leslie saw at once that unless 
A bee's misfortune was concealed, all the virtues and all the talents in 
the world could not enable her to retrace the one false step. Mrs. 
Les'ic was a woman of habitual truth and strict rectitude, and she was 
sorely perplexed between the propriety of candour and its cruelty. 
She felt unequal to take the responsibility of action on herself; and, 
iiftcr much meditation, she resolved to confide her scruples to one, 
who of all whom she knew, possessed the highest character for moral 
worth and religious sanctity. This gentleman, lately a widower, lived 
at the outskirts of the town selected for Alice's future residence, and 
at that time happened to be on a visit in Mrs. Leslie's neighbourhood. 
He was an opulent man, a banker • he had once represented the town 
in parliament, and retirmg, from disinclination to the late hours and 
onerous fatigues even of an unreformed House of Commons, 
he still possessed an influence to return one, if not both, of 

the members for the city of C . And that influence was 

always exerted so as best to secure his own interest with the 
powers that be, and advance certain objects of ambition (for he 
was both an ostentatious and ambitious man in his own way), which 
he felt he might more easily obtain by proxy than by his own votes 
and voice in parliament— an atmosphere in which his light did not 
shine. And it was with a wonderful address that the banker contrived 
at once to support the government, and yet, by the frequent expression 
or liberal opinions, to conciliate the Wings and the Dissenters of liis 
neighbourhood. Parties, political and sectarian, were not then so 
irrcconcileable as they are now. In the whole county there was no 
one so respected as this eminent person, and yet he possessed no shinni"- 
talents, though a laborious and energetic man of business. It was 
solely and wholly the force of moral character which gave him his 
position in society. He felt this ; he was sensitively proud of it • he 
was painfully anxious not to lose an atom of a distinction that required 
to be vigilantly secured. He was a very remarkable, yet not (perhans 
eould we penetrate all hearts) a very uncommon character— this 
baiiker ! He had risen from, comparatively speaking, a low origin 
had humble fortunes and entirelyby the scrupulous and sedate pro- 
; , :'-ty of us outward conduct. With such a propriety he, therefore 
.^separably connected evsry notion of worldly prosperity and honour! 
Jims, though far from a bad man, he was forced into being some- 
tam?; of a hypocrite. Lvery year he had grown more starch and/ 
more saintly. He was conscience-keeper to the whole town; and it 
is astonishing how many persons hardly dared to make a will or sub- 



103 ERNEST MALTHA VERS. 

scribe to a charity without his advice. As he was a shrewd man of 
this world, as well as an accredited guide to the next, his advice was 
precisely of a nature to reconcile the Conscience and the Interest ; 
and he was a kind of negotiator in the reciprocal diplomacy of earth 
and heaven. But our banker was really a charitable man, and a bene- 
volent man, and a sincere believer. How, then, was he a hypocrite ? 
Simply, because he professed to be far more chritable, more benevolent, 
and more pious than he really was. His reputation had now arrived to 
that degree of immaculate polish, that the smallest breath, which 
would not have tarnished the character of another man, would have 
lixed an idelible stain upon his. As he affected to be more strict than 
the churchman, and was a great oracle with all who regarded church- 
men as lukewarm, so his conduct was narrowly watched by all the 
clergy of the orthodox cathedral, good men, doubtless, but not affect- 
ing to be saints, who were Jealous at being so luminously outshone 
by a layman and an authority of the sectarians. On the other hand, 
the intense homage, and almost worship he received from his fol- 
lowers, kept his goodness upon a stretch, if not beyond all human 
power, certainly beyond his own. For ''admiration" (as it is well 
said somewhere) " is a kind of superstition which expects miracles." 
From nature, this gentleman had received an inordinate share of 
animal propensities ; he had strong passions, he was by temperament 
a sensualist. He loved good eating and good wine — he loved women. 
The two former blessings of the carnal life are not incompatible with 
canonisation ; but St. Anthony has shown that women, however an- 
gelic, are not precisely that order of angels that saints may safely com- 
mune with. If, therefore, he ever yielded to temptations of a sexual 
nature, it was with profound secrecy and caution ; nor did his right 
hand know what his left hand did. 

This gentleman had married a woman much older than himself, but 
her fortune had been one of the necessary stepping-stones in his career. 
His exemplary conduct towards this lady, ugly as well as old, had 
done much towards increasing the odour of his sanctity. She died of 
an ague, and the widower did not shock probabilities by affecting too 
severe a grief. 

" The Lord's will be done ! " said he ; " she was a good woman, 
but we should not set our affections too much upon His perishable 
Ereatures ! " 

This was all he was ever heard to say on the matter. He took 
an elderly gentlewoman, distantly related to him, to manage his 
house, and sit at the head of trie table; and it was thought not 
impossible, though the widower was past fifty, that he might marry 
again. 

Such was the gentleman called in by Mrs. Leslie, who, of the same 
religious opinions, had long known and revered him, to decide the 
affairs of Alice and of Conscience. 

As this man exercised no slight or fugitive influence over Alice 
Larvil's destinies, his counsels on the point in discussion ought to be 
fairly related. 

" And now " said Mrs. Leslie, concluding the history, " you will 
perceive, my dear sir, that this poor young creature has been less cul- 



EKNESX MALTRAVimS. 107 

pable than she appears. From the extraordinary proficiency she aas 
made in music, in a time that, by her own account, seems incredibly 
short, I should suspect her unprincipled betrayer must have been an 
artist— a professional man. It is just possible that they may meet 
again, and (as the ranks between them cannot be so very dispropor- 
tionate) that he may marry her. I am sure that he could not do a 
better or a wiser thing, for she loves him too fondly, despite her 
wrongs. Under these circumstances, would it be a — a — a culpable 
disguise of truth to represent her as a married woman — separated 
from her husband— and give her the name of her seducer ? Without 
such a precaution you will see, sir, that all hope of settling her repu- 
tably in life— all chance of procuring her any creditable independence, 
is out of the question. Such is my dilemma. What is your advice ? 
—palatable or not, I shall abide by it." 

The banker's grave and satumme countenance exhibited a slight 
degree of embarrassment at the case submitted to him. He began 
brushing away, with the cuff of his black coat, some atoms of dust 
that had settled on his drab small-clothes; and, after a slight pause, lie 
replied, "Why, really, dear madam, the question is one of much deli- 
cacy — I doubt if men could be good judges upon it ; your sex's tact and 
instinct on these matters are better — much better than our sagacity. 
There is much in the dictates of your own heart ; for to those who are 
in the grace of the Lord, He vouchsafes to communicate his pleasure, 
by spiritual hints and inward suggestions ! " 

"If so, my dear sir, the matter is decided ; for my heart whispers 

me, that this slight deviation from truth would be a less culpable 

ti'ence than turning so young and, I had almost said, so innocent 

i creature adrift upon the world. I may take your opinion as my 

..miction."' 

" ^Vhy really, I can scarcely say so much as that," said the banker, 
with a slight smile. " A deviation from truth cannot be incurred 
without some forfeiture of strict duty." 

" Not in any case. Alas, I was afraid so ! " said Mrs. Leslie, de- 
ojKindingly. 

" In any case ! Oh, there may be cases ! But had I not better sec 
the young woman, and ascertain that your benevolent heart has not 
deceived you?" 

" I wish you would," said Mrs. Leslie, " she is now in the house. 

will ring for her." 

" Should we not be alone ? " 

" Certainly ; I will leave you together." 

Alice was sent for, and appeared. 

"This pious gentleman," said Mrs. Leslie, "will confer with you for 
i few moments, my child. Do not be afraid ; he is the best of men." 
With these words of encouragement the good lady vanished, and Alice 
> aw before her a tall dark man, with a head bald in front, yet larger 
behind than before, with spectacles upon a pair of shrewd, penetrating 
eyes, and an outline of countenance that showed he must have been 
handsome in earlier manhood. 

" My young friend," said the banker, seating himself, after a deli- 
berate survey of the fair countenance that blushed beneath his ga/.e. 



03 ERNEST 3IALTKA.VEKS. 

' Mrs. Leslie and myself have been conferring upon your temporal 
relfare. You have been unfortunate, my child ?" 

" Ah— yes." 

" Well, well, you are very young ; we must not be too severe upon 
outh. You will never do so again ?" 

"Do what, please you, sir?" 

" What ! Humph ! I mean that you will be more rigid, more cir- 
umspect. Men are deceitful ; you must be on your guard against 
hem. You are handsome, child, very handsome — more's the pity." 
bid the banker took Alice's hand and pressed it with great unction. 
LLice looked at him gravely, and drew the hand away instinctively. 
_ The banker lowered his spectacles, and gazed at her without their 
id ; his eyes were still fine and expressive. "What is your name ?" 
Le asked. 

"Alice — Alice Darvil, sir." 

"Well, Alice, we have been considering what is best for you. You 
rish to earn your own livelihood, and perhaps marry some honest man 
icreafter." 

"Marry, sir — never!" said Alice, with great earnest, her eyes filling 
pith tears. 

"And why?" 

" Because I shall never see 1dm on earth, and they do not marry in 
Leaven, sir." 

The banker was moved, for he was not worse than his neighbours, 
hough trying to make them believe he was so much setter. 

" Well, time enough to talk of that ; but in the mean while you 
pould support yourself?" 

" Yes, sir. His child ought to be a burthen to none — nor I either. 
. once wished to die, but then who would love my little one ? Now I 
rish to live." 

"But what mode of livelihood would you prefer ? Would you go 
uto a family, in some capacity ? — not that of a servant — you are too 
lelicate for that." 

"Oh, no— no!" 

"But, again, why?" asked the banker, soothingly, yet surprised. 

" Because," said Alice, almost solemnly, " there are some hours when 

feel I must be alone. I sometimes think I am not all right here," 
.nd she touched her forehead. " They called me an idiot before I 
aiew him ! — No, I could not live with others, for I can only cry when 
lobody but my child is with me." 

This was said with such unconscious, and therefore with such, 
jathetic simplicity, that the banker was sensibly affected._ He rose:, 
itirred the^ fire, resettled himself, and after a pause,said empbati- 
■ally — "Alice, I will be your friend. Let me believe you will 
leserve it." 

Alice bent her graceful head, and seeing that he had sunk into an 
distracted silence, she thought it time for her to withdraw. 

" She is, indeed, beautiful," said the banker, almost aloud, when he 
vas alone ; " and the old lady is right — she is as innocent as if she 
lad not fallen. I wonder ." Here he stopped short, and walked 



EKNEST MALTHA VEKS. iv/J 

to the glass over the mantel-piece, where he was still gazing on his 
own features, when Mrs. Leslie returned. 

" Well, sir," said she, a little surprised at this seeming vanity in so 
pious a man. 

The banker started. " Madam, I honour your penetration as much 
as your charity; I think that there is so much to be feared in letting 
all the world know this young female's past error, that, though I dare 
not advise, I cannot blame, your concealment of it." 

"13ut, sir, your words have sunk deep into my thoughts ; you said 
every deviation from truth was a forfeitureof duty." 

"Certainly; but there are some exceptions. The world is a bad 
world, we are born in sin, and the children of wrath. We do not tell 
infants all the truth, when they ask us questions, the proper answers 
of which would mislead, not enlighten, them. In some things the 
whole world are infants. The very science of government is the 
science of concealing truth — so is the system of trade. We could not 
blame the tradesman for not telling the public, that if all his debts 
were called in he would be a bankrupt." 

" And he may marry her after all — this Mr. Butler." 

" Heaven forbid — the villain ! — Well, madam, I will see to this poor 
young thing — she shall not want a guide." 

' Heaven reward you. How wicked some peqple are to call you 
severe !" 

" I can bear that blame with a meek temper, madam. Good day." 

" Good day. You will remember how strictly confidential has been 
our conversation." 

"Not a breath shall transpire. I will send you some tracts to- 
morrow — so comforting. -Heaven bless you ! " 

This difficulty smoothed, Mrs. Leslie, to her astonishment, found 
that she had another to contend with in Alice herself. Tor, first, 
Alice conceived that to change her name and keep her secret, was to 
confess that she ought to be ashamed, rather than proud, of her love 
to Ernest, and she thought that so ungrateful to him !— and, secondly, 
to take his name, to pass for his wife — what presumption — he would 
certainly have a right to be offended ! At these scruples, Mrs. Leslie 
well-nigh lost all patience ; and the banker, to his own surprise, was 
again called in. We have said that he was an experienced and skilful 
adviser, which implies the faculty of persuasion. He soon saw the 
handle by which Alice's obstinacy might always be moved — her little 
girl's welfare. He put this so forcibly before her eyes; he re- 
presented the child's future fate as resting so much, not only on her 
own good conduct, but on her outward respectability, that he pre- 
vailed upon her at last ; and, perhaps, one argument that he incidentally 
used, had as much effect on her as the rest. " This Mr. Butler, if yet 
in England, may pass through our town — may visit amongst us — may 
hear you spoken of, by a name similar to his own, and curiosity would 
Tnus induce lihn to seek you. Take his name, and you will alwavs 
bear an honourable index to your mutual discovery and recognition. 
Besides, when you are respectable, honoured, and earning an inde- 
pendence, he may not be too proud to marry you. But take your own 



10 EllNEST HALTBAVESS. 

ame, avow your own history, and not only will your child, be an out- 
ast, yourself a beggar, or, at best, a menial dependant, but you lose 
very hope of recovering the object of your too-devoted attachment." 
Thus Alice was convinced, From that time she became close and 
eserved in her communications. Mrs. Leslie had wisely selected a 
own sufficiently remote from her own abode to preclude any revela- 
Lons of her domestics ; and, as Mrs. Butler, Alice attracted universal 
ympathy and respect from the exercise of her talents, the modest 
weetness of her manners, the unblemished propriety of her conduct. 
Somehow or other, no sooner did she learn the philosophy of conceal- 
ient, than she made a great leap in knowledge of the world. And, 

hough flattered and courted by the young loungers of C , 

he steered her course with so much address, that she was never per- 
ecuted. For there are few men in the world who make advances 
rhere there is no encourgement. 

The banker observed her conduct with silent vigilance. He met 
icr often, he visited her often. He was intimate at houses where she 
,ttended to teach or perform. He lent her good books— he advised 
ler — he preached to her. Alice began to look up to him — to like 
inn — to consider him, as a village girl in Catholic countries may con- 
ider a benevolent and kindly priest. And he — what was his object ? 
—at that time it is impossible to guess : — he became thoughtful and 
ibstracted. 

One day an old maid and an old clergyman met in the High Street 
»f C . 

"And how do you do, ma'am ? " said the clergyman ; " how is the 
heumatism?" 

" Better, thank you, sir. Any news ? " 

The clergyman smiled, and something hovered on Ids lips, which he 
suppressed. 

" Were you," the old maid resumed, " at Mrs. Macnab's last 
light ? Charming music ? " 

"Charming! How pretty that Mrs. Butler is! and how humble! 
Knows her station — so unlike professional people." 

" Yes, indeed ! — What attention a certain banker paid her !" 

" He ! he ! he ! yes ; he is very fatherly — very !" 

" Perhaps he will marry again ; he is always talking of the holy 
itate of matrimony— a holy state it may be — but Heaven knows, his 
srifc, poor woman, did not make it a pleasant one." 

" There may be more causes for that than we guess of," said the 
clergyman, mysteriously. " I would not be uncharitable, but " 

"But what?" 

" Oh, when he was young, our great man was not so correct, I 
fancy, as he is now." 

" So I have heard it whispered; but nothing against him was ever 
known." 

" Hem — it is very odd ! " 

"What's very odd?" 

" Why, but it's a secret — I dare say it's all very right." 

" Oh, I shan't say a word. Are yon going to the cathedral ?— doi/fc 
iet me keea vou standing. Now, pray proceed!" 



ERNEST HALTRAVEIIS. Ill 

"Well, then, yesterday I was doing duty m a village morr; than 
twenty miles hence, and I loitered in the village to take an early 
dinner; and, afterwards, while my horse was feeding, I strolled down 
the green." 

"Well— well?" 

" And I saw a gentleman muffled carefully up, with his hat slouched 
over his face, at the door of a cottage, with a little child in his arms, 
and he kissed it more fondly than, be we ever so good, we generally 
kiss other people's children ; and then he gave it to a peasant woman 
standing near rum, and mounted his horse, which was tied to the gate, 
and trotted past me ; and who do you think this M r as?" 

" Patience me — I can't guess ! " 

" Why. our saintly banker. I bowed to him, and I assure you 
he turnea as red, ma'am, as your waistband." 

"My!" 

" 1 just turned into the cottage when he was out of sight, for I was 
thirsty, and asked for a glass of water, and I saw the child. I declare, 
I would not be uncharitable, but I thought it monstrous lite — you 
know whom!" 

" Gracious ! you don't say " 

" I asked the woman 'if it was hers ?' and she said 'No,' but was 
very shcrt." 

" Dear me, I mtist find this out ! — What is the name of the vil- 
lage?" 

"" Covcdale." 

" Oh, I know— I know." 

" Not a word of this ; I dare say there's nothing in it. 13ut I am 
not much in favour of your new lights." 

" Nor I neither. What- better than the good old Church of 
England ? " 

" Madam, your sentiments do you honour ; you'll be sure not to say 
am-thina 1 of our little mystery." 

"NotTa syllable.". 

Two days after this^ three old maids made an excursion to the vil- 
lage of Covedale, ana lo ! the cottage in question was shut up — the 
woman and the child were gone. The people in the village knew 
nothing about them — had seen nothing particular in the woman or 
child — had alwavs supposed them mother and daughter ; and the gen- 
tleman identified by the clerical inquisitor with the banker, had never 
but once been observed in the place. 

" The vile old parson " said the eldest of the old maids, " to take 

a.-.'ay so good a man's character ! and the fly will cost one pound 

two' with the baiting !" 



^12 EHNEST MAlTUAYERfl. 



CHAPTER VL 

" In this disposition was I, when looking out of my window one day to lake the 
ai/, I perceived a kind of peasant who looked at ma very attentively."— Gil Blas. 

A summer's evening in a retired country town has something me- 
lancholy in it. You have the streets of a metropolis without their 
animated bustle — you have the stillness of the country without its 
birds and flowers. The reader will please to bring before him a 

quiet street, _ in the quiet country town of C , in a quiet 

evening in quiet June ; the picture is not mirthful — two young dogs 
are playing in the street, one old dog is watching by a newly-painted 
door. A few ladies of middle age move noiselessly along the pave- 
ment, returning home to tea : they wear white muslin dresses, green 
spencers a little faded, straw poke bonnets, with green or coffee- 
coloured gauze veils. By twos and threes they have disappeared 
within the thresholds of small neat houses, with, little railings, 
■enclosing little green plots. Threshold, house, railing, and plot, each 
as like to the other as are those small commodities called " nest 
tables," which, " even as a broken mirror multiplies," summon to the 
bewildered eye countless iterations of one four-legged individual. 
Paradise Place was a set of nest houses. 

A cow had passed through the streets with a milkwoman behind ; 
two young and gay shopmen, " looking after the gals," had recon- 
noitred the street, and vanished in despair. The twilight advanced — 
but gently ; and though a star or two were up, the air was still clear. 
At the open window of one of the tenements in this street sat Alice 
Darvil. She had been working (that pretty excuse to women for 
thinking), and as the thoughts grew upon her, and the evening waned, 
the work had fallen upon her knee, and her hands dropped mechani- 
cally on her lap. Her profile was turned towards the street ; but 
without moving her head or changing her attitude, her eyes glanced 
from time to time to her little girl, who nestled on the ground beside 
her, tired with play; and, wondering, perhaps, why she was not 
already in bed, seemed as tranquil as the young mother herself. And 
sometimes Alice's eyes filled with tears — and then she sighed, as if to 
sigh the tears away. But, poor Alice, if she grieved, hers was now a 
silent and a patient grief ! 

The street was deserted of all other passengers, when a man passed 
along the pavement on the side opposite to Alice's house, His garb 
was rude and homely, between that of a labourer and a farmer ; but 
still there was an affectation of tawdry show about the bright scarlet 
silk handkerchief, tied in a sailor or smuggler fashion round the sinewy 
throat ; the hat was set jauntily on one side, and, dangling many an 
inch from the gaily-striped waistcoat, glittered a watch-chain and 
seals, which appeared suspiciously out of character with the rest of 



ERKiiST MALTBAYEK3. 113 

the attire. The passenger was covered with dust ; and as the street wa3 
in a suburb communicating with the high-road, and formed one of the 
entrances into the town, he had probably, after a long day's journey, 
reached his evening's destination. The looks of this stranger wer« 
anxious, restless, and perturbed. In his gait and swagger there wis 
the recklessness of the professional blackguard; but in liis vigilant, 
prying, suspicious ey«s, there was a hang-dog expression of appre- 
hension and fear. He seemed a man upon whom Crime had set its 
significant mark — and who saw a purse with one eye and a gibbet 
with the other. Alice did not note the stranger, until she herself had 
attracted and centered all his attention. He halted abruptly as he 
caught a view of her face — shaded his eyes with his hand as if to gaze 
more intently — and at length burst into an exclamation of surprise and 
pleasure. At that instant Alice turned, and her gaze met that of the 
stranger. The fascination of the basilisk can scarcely more stun and 
paralvse its viotim than the look of this stranger charmed, with the 
appalling glamoury of horror, the eye and soul of Alice Darvil. Her 
face became suddenly locked and rigid, her lips as white as marble, 
her eyes almost started from their sockets — she pressed her hands 
convulsively together, and shuddered — but still she did not move. 
The man nodded, and grinned, and then, deliberately crossing the 
street, gained the door, and knocked loudly. Still Alice did not stir — 
her senses seemed to have forsaken her — presently the stranger's 
loud, rough voice was beard below, in answer to the accents of the 
solitary woman-servant whom Alice kept in her employ ; and his 
strong, heavy tread made the slight staircase creak and. tremble. 
Then Alice rose as by an instinct, caught her child in her arms, and 
stood erect and motionless, facing the door. It opened — and the 
father and daughter were once more face to face within the same 
walls. 

" Well, Alley, how are you, my blowen ? — glad to see your old dad 
again, I'll be sworn. No ceremony, sit down. Ha, ha ! snug here — 
very snug — we shall live together charmingly. Trade on your own 
account— eh ? sly ;— well, can't desert your poor old father. Let's 
have something to eat and drink." 

So saving, Darvil threw himself at length upon the neat, prim, 
little chintz sofa, with the ah of a man resolved to make himself 
perfectly at home. 

Alice gazed, and trembled violently, but still said nothing — the 
power of voice had indeed left her. 

" Come, why don't you stir your stumps ? I suppose I must wait 
on myself— fine manners !— But, ho, ho— a bell, by gosh— mighty 
erand — never mind — I am used to call for my own wants." 

A hearty tug at the frail bell-rope sent a shrill alarum half-way 
through the long lath-and-plaster row of Paradise Place, and left the 
instrument of the sound in the hand of its creator. 

Up came the maid-servant, a formal old woman, most respectable. 

" Harkye, old girl ! " said Darvil ; " bring up the best you have to 
eat— not particular— let there be plenty. And I say— a bottle of 
brandy. Come, don't stand there staring like a stuck pig. Budge ! 
Hell and furies ! don't you hear me ? " 



114 ERNEST MALTKAVEBS. 

The servant retreated, as if a pistol had been put to her head, and 
Darvil, laughing loud, threw himself again upon the sofa. Alice 
'ooked at him. and, still without saying a word, glided from the room 
—her child in her arms. She hurried downstairs, and in the hall met 
her servant. The latter, who was much attached to her mistress, was 
alarmed to see her about to leave the house. 

"Why, marm, where be you going? Dear heart, you have no 
bonnet on ! What is the matter ? Who is this ? " 

" Oh ! " cried Alice, in agony ; " what shall I do ?— where shall 1 
fly ? " The door above opened. Alice heard, started, and the next 
moment was in the street. She ran on breathlessly, and like one 
insane. Her mind was, indeed, for the time, gone, and had a river 
flowed before her way, she would have plunged into an escape from a 
world that seemed too narrow to hold a father and his child. 

But just as she turned the corner of a street that led into the 
more public thoroughfares, she felt her arm grasped and a voice 
called out her name m surprised and startled accents. 

"Heavens, Mrs. Butler! Alice! What do I see? What is the 
matter ? " 

" Oh, sir, save me ! — you are a good man — a great man — save me — 
he is returned ! " 

"He! who? — Mr. Butler?" said the banker (for that gentleman 
it was), in a changed and trembling voice. 

" No, no — ah, not he ! — I did not say he — I said my father — my, 
my — ah — look behind — look behind—?* he coming ? " 

" Calm yourself, my dear young friend — no one is near. I will go 
and reason with your father. No one shall harm you — I will protect 
you. Go back — go back, I will follow — we must not be seen together." 
And the tall banker seemed trying to shrink into a nutshell. 

"No, no," said Alice, growing yet paler, " I cannot go back." 

" Well, then, just follow me to the door — your servant shall get you 
your bonnet, and accompany you to my house, where you can wait 
till I return. Meanwhile 1 will see your father, and rid you, I trust, 
of his presence." 

The Danker, who spoke in a very hurried and even impatient voice, 
waited for no reply, but took his way to Alice's house. Alice herself 
did not follow, but remained in the very place where she was left, till 
joined by her servant, who then conducted her to the rich man's 
residence . . But Alice's mind had not recovered its shock, 
and her thoughts wandered alarmingly 



EKNEST MALTKAVE11S. 116 



CHAPTER VII. 

" Miramant.—'Do they chafe roundly ? 

Andrew. — As they were rubbed with soap, sir. 
And now they swear aloud, now calm again 
Like a ring of bells, whose sound the wind still utters, 
And then they sit in council what to do, 
And then they jar again what shall be done ? " 

Beaumont and Fletcher. 

Oh ! what a picture of human nature it was when the banker and 
tue vagabond sat together in that little drawing-room, facing each 
other, — one in the arm-chair, one on the sofa ! Darvil was still employed 
on some cold meat, and was making wry faces at the very mdfft'erent 
brandy which he had frightened the formal old servant into buying at 
the nearest public-house; and opposite sat the respectable— nighly 
respectable man of forms and ceremonies, of decencies and quackeries, 
gazing gravely upon this low, dare-devil ruffian:— the well-to-do 
hypocrite — the penniless villain ; — the man who had everything to lose 
— the man who liad nothing in the wide world but his own mischievous, 
rascally life, a gold watch, chain and seals, which he had stolen the 
day before, and thirteen shillings and threepence halfpenny in his left, 
breeches-pocket ! 

The man of wealth was by no means well acquainted with the 
nature of the beast before him. He had heard from Mrs. Leslie (as 
we remember) the outline of Alice's history, and ascertained that 
their joint protege's father was a great blackguard; but he expected 
to find Mr. Darvil a mere dull, brutish villain, a peasant-ruffian — a 
blunt serf, without brains, or their substitute, effrontery. But Luke 
Darvil was a clever, half-educated fellow : he did not sin from igno- 
rance, but had wit enough to have bad principles, and he was as im- 
pudent as if he had lived all his life in the best society. He was not 
frightened at the banker's drab breeches and imposing air — not he ! 
The Duke of Wellington would not have frightened Luke Darvil, 
unless his grace had had the constables for his aides-de-camp. 
The banker, to use a homely phrase, was "taken aback." 
"Look you here, Mr. What's-your-name !" said Darvil, swallowing 
a glass of the raw alcohol as if it had been water — " look you now — 
you can't humbug me. What the devil do you care about my daugh- 
ter's respectability or comfort, or anything else, grave old dog as you 
arc ! — It is my daughter herself you are ricking your brown old chaps 
at!— and 'faith, my Alley is a very pretty girl— very— but queer 
as moonshine. You'll drive a much better bargain with me than 
with her." 

The banker coloured scarlet — he bit his lips, and measured his com- 
panion from head to foot (while the latter lolled on the sofa), as if he 
were meditating the possibility of kicking him downstairs. But Luke 
Darvil would have thrashed the banker, and all his clerks into the bar- 
gain. Hia frame was like a trunk of thews and muscles, packed up 

i2 



J16 ERNEST MALTRAVKKS. 

by tliat careful dame, Nature, as tightly as possible ; and a prize- 
fighter would have thought twice before he had entered the ring 
against so awkward a customer. The banker was a man prudent 
to a fault, and he pushed his chair six. inches back, as he concluded 
his survey. 

" Sir," then said he, very quietly, " do not let us misunderstand 
each other. Your daughter is safe from your control — if you molest 
her, the law will protect " 

" She is not of age," said Darvil. " Your health, old boy." 

" Whether she is of age or not," returned the banker, unheeding 
the courtesy conveyed in the last sentence, "I do not care three 
straws— I know enough of the law to know, that if she have rich 
friends in this town, and you have none, she will be protected, and 
you will go to the treadmill." 

" That is spoken like a sensible man," said Darvil, for the first time 
with a show of respect in his manner; "you now take a practical 
view of matters, as we used to say at the spouting-club." 

" If I were in your situation, Mr. Darvil, I tell you what I would 
do. I would leave my daughter and this town to-morrow morning, 
and I would promise never to return, and never to molest her, on 
condition she allowed me a certain sum from her earnings, paid 
quarterly." 

" And if I preferred living with her ? " 

" In that case, I, as a magistrate of this town, would have you sent 
awav as a vagrant, or apprehended " 

"Ha!" 

" Apprehended on suspicion of stealing that gold chain and seals 
v, hich you wear so ostentatiously." 

" By goles, but you're a clever fellow," said Darvil, involuntarily : 
" you know human natur." 

The banker smiled : strange to say, he was pleased with the com- 
pliment. 

" But," resumed Darvil, helping himself to another slice of beef, 
" you are in the wrong box — planted in Queer Street, as we say in 

London ; for if you care a d n about my daughter's respectability, 

you will never muzzle her father on suspicion of theft — and so there's 
tit for tat, my old gentleman ! " 

" I shall deny that you are her father, Mr. Darvil ; and I think 
you will find it hard to prove the fact in any town where I am a 
magistrate." 

" By goles, what a good prig you would have made ! You are as 
sharp as a gimlet. Surely you were brought up at the Old Bailey ! " 

" Mr. Darvil, be ruled. You seem a man not deaf to reason, and I 
ask you whether, in any town in this country, a poor man in sus- 
picious circumstances can do anything against a rich man whose 
character is established ? Perhaps, you are right in the main : I have 
notliing to do with that. But I tell you that you shall quit this house 
in half an hour — that you shall never enter it again but at your peril ; 
and if you do — within ten minutes from that time you shall be in the 
town gaol. It is no longer a contest between you and your defence- 
less daughter ; it is a contest between " 



ERNEST MALTKAYERS. 117 

"A tramper in fustian and a gcmman as drives a coach," inter- 
rupted Darvil, laughing bitterly, yet heartily. " Good— good ! " 

The banker rose. " i think you have made a very clever definition." 
said he. "Half an hour — you recollect — good evening." 

" Stay," said Darvil ; " you are the first man I have seen for many 
a year that I can take a fancy to. Sit down — sit down, I say, ana 
talk a bit, and we shall come to terms soon, I dare say : — that's right. 
Lord ! how I should like to have you on the roadside instead of 
within these four gimcrack walls. Ha ! ha ! the argufying would be 
all in my favour then." 

The banker was not a brave man, and his colour changed sb'ghtly at 
the intimation of this obliging wish. Darvil eyed him grimly and 
chucklingly. 

The rich man resumed: "That may or may not be, Mr. Darvil, 
according as I might happen or not to have pistols about me. But 
to the point. Quit this house without further debate, without 
noise, without mentioning to any one else your claim upon its 
owner " 

"Well, and the return?" 

" Ten guineas now, and the same sum quarterly, as long as the 
voung lady lives in this town, and you never persecute her by word or 
letter." 

" That is forty guineas a year. I can't live upon it." 

" You will cost less in the House of Correction, Mr. Darvil." 

" Come make it a hundred : Alley is cheap at that." 

'"' Xot a farthing more," said the banker, buttoning up his breeches- 
pockets with a determinod air. 

" Well, out with the shiners." 

" Do you promise or not ?" 

" Ipromise." 

" There are your ten guineas. If in half an hour you are not gone 
— whv then " 

"Then':'" 

" Why then you have robbed me of ten guineas, and must take the 
usual consequences of robbery." 

Darvil started to his feet — his eyes glared — he grasped the carving- 
knife before him. 

" You are a bold fellow," said the banker, quietly ; " but it won't do. 
It is not worth your while to murder me ; and I am a man sure to be 
missed." 

Darvil sunk down, sullen and foiled. The respectable man was 
more than a match for the villain. 

" Had you been as poor as I, — Gad ? what a rogue you would have 
been!" 

" I think not," said the banker; "I Deiieve roguery to be a very 
bad policy. Perhaps once I was almost as poor as you are, but I never 
turned rogue." 

" You never were in my circumstances," returned Darvil, gloomily. 
" I was a gentleman's son. Come, you shall hear my story. My father 
was well-born, but married a maid-servant when he was at college ; his 
family disowned him, and left him to starve. He died in the struggle 



118 ERNEST MALTRAVERR. 

against a poverty lie was not brought up to, and my dame went into 
service again ; became housekeeper to an old bachelor — sent me to 
school — but mother had a family by the old bachelor, and I was taken 
from school anc^put to trade. AH hated me — for I was ugly: damn 
them ! Mother cut me — I wanted money — robbed the old bachelor — 
was sent to gaol, and learned there a lesson or two how to rob better 
in future. Mother died, — I was adrift on the world. The world was 
my foe — could not make it up with the world, so we went to war ; — 
you understand, old boy ? Married a poor woman and pretty ; — wife 
made me jealous — had learned to suspect every one. Alice bom — did 
not believe her mine : not like me — perhaps a gentleman's child. I 
hate — I loathe gentlemen. Got drunk one night — kicked my wife in 
the stomach three weeks after her confinement. Wife died — tried 
for my life — got off. Went to another county — having had a sort of 
education, and being sharp eno', got work as a mechanic. Hated work 
just as I hated gentlemen — for was I not by blood a gentleman? 
There was the curse. Alice grew up ; never looked on her as my 

flesh and blood. Her mother was a w ! Why should not she be 

one ? There, that 's enough. Plenty of excuse, 1 think, for all I have 
ever done. Curse the world — curse the rich — curse the handsome — 
curse — curse all ! " 

" You have been a very foolish man," said the banker; "and seem 
to me to have had very good cards, if you had known how to play 
them. However, that is your look out. It is not yet too late to 
repent ; — age is creeping on you. — Man, there is another world." 

The banker said the last words with a tone of solemn and even 
dignified adjuration. 

" You think so— do you?" said Darvil, staring at him. 

" From my soul I do." 

" Then you are not the sensible man I took you for," replied Darvil, 
drily ; " and I should like to talk to you on that subject." 

But our Dives, however sincere a believer, was by no means one 

" At whose control 
Despair -and anguish fled the struggling soul." 

He had words of comfort for the pious, but he had none for the sceptic 
— he could soothe, but he could not convert. It was not in his way ; 
besides, he saw no credit in making a convert of Luke Darvil. 
Accordingly, he again rose with some quickness, and said — 

" No, sir ; that is useless, I fear, and I have no time to spare ; and 
so once more, good night to you." 

" But you have not arranged where my allowance is to be 
sent." 

" Ah ! true ; I will guarantee it. You will find my name sufficient 
security." 

" At least, it is the best I can get," returned Darvil, carelessly : 
" and, after all, it is not a bad chance-day's work. But I'm sure I 
can't say where the money shall be sent. I don't know a man who 
would not grab it." 

" Very well, then — the best thing (I speak as a man of business) 
will be to draw on me for ten guineas, quarterly. Wherever you are 



DllNEST MALTKAVBH5, 119 

staying, any bunker can effect tins for you. But mind, if ever you 
overdraw the account stops." 

" I understand," said Darvil: " and when I have finished the bottle 
I shall be off." 

" You had better," replied the banker, us he opened the door. 

The rich man returned home hurriedly. " So Alice, after all, has 
borne gentle blood in her veins," thought he. " But that father — no, 
it will never do. I wish he were hanged and nobody the wiser. I 
should very much like to arrange the matter without marrying ; but 
then — scandal — scandal — scandal. After all, I had better give up all 
thoughts of her. She is monstrous handsome, and so — humph! — I 
shall never grow an old man." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

" Began to bend down his admiring eyes 
On all her touching looks and qualities, 
Turning their shapely sweetness every way 
Till 'twas his food and habit day by day." — Lisigii Hunt. 

Theue must have been a secret something about Alice Darvil sin- 
gularly captivating, that (associated as she was with images of the 
most sordid and the vilest crimes) left her still pure and lovely alike in 
the eyes of a man as fastidious as Ernest Maltravers, and of a man as 
influenced by all the thoughts and theories of the world, as the shrewd 

banker of C . Amidst things foul and hateful had sprung ur> 

this beautiful flower, as if to preserve the inherent heavenliness and 
grace of human nature, and proclaim the handiwork of God in scenes; 
where human nature had been most debased by the abuses of social, 
art ; and where the light of God himself was most darkened and 
obscured. That such contrasts, though rarely and as by chance, are 
found, every one who has carefully examined the waste's and deserts 
of life must own. I have drawn Alice Darvil scrupulously from life; 
and I can declare that I have not exaggerated hue or lineament in the 
portrait. I do not suppose, with our good banker, that she owed 
anything, unless it might be a greater delicacy of form and feature, 
to whatever mixture of gentle blood was in her veins. But, somehow 
or other, in her original conformation there was the happy bias of the 
plants towards the Pure and the Bright. Por, despite Helvetius, a 
common experience teaches us that though education and circum- 
stances may mould the mass, Nature herself sometimes forms the 
individual, and throws into the clay, or its spirit, so much of beauty 
or deformity, that nothing can utterly subdue the original elements of 
character. Prom sweets one draws poison — from poisons another 
extracts but sweets._ But I, often deeply pondering over the psy- 
chological liistory of Alice Darvil, think that one principal cause why 
she escaped the early contaminations around her, was in the slow and 
protracted development of her intellectual faculties. Whether or not 



120 EllNEST MALT11A.VEKS. 

the brutal violence of her father had in childhood acted through tne 
nerves upon the brain, certain it is that until she knew Maltravers— 
until she loved — till she was cherished — her mind had seemed torpid 
md locked up. True, Darvil had taught her nothing, nor permitted 
icr to be taught anything ; but that mere ignorance would have been 
10 preservation to a quick, observant mind. It was the bluntncss of 
;lie senses themselves that operated like an armour between her mind 
md the vile things around her. It was the rough, dull covering of 
he chrysalis, framed to bear rude contact and biting weather, that 
-he butterfly might break forth, winged and glorious, in due season. 
3a i Alice been a quick child, Alice would have probably grown up a 
lepraved and dissolute woman; but she comprehended, she understood 
ittle or nothing, till she found an inspirer in that affection which in- 
ipires both beast and man ; which makes the dog (in his natural state 
me of the meanest of the savage race) a companion, a guardian, a 
srotector, and raises Instinct half-way to the height of Reason. 

The banker had a strong regard for Alice ; and when he reached 
lome, he heard with great pain that she was in a high state of fever. 
She remained beneath his roof that night, and the elderly gentlewoman, 
ds relation and gouvernante,_ attended her. The banker slept but 
ittle ; and the next morning Ids countenance was unusually pale. 

Towards daybreak Alice had fallen into a sound and refreshing 
leep ; and when, on waking, she found, by a note from her host, that 
Ler father had left her house, and she might return in safety and with- 
nt fear, a violent flood of tears, followed by long and grateful prayer, 
ontributed to the restoration of her mind and nerves. Imperfect as 
his young woman's notions of abstract right and wrong still were, 
he was yet sensible to the claims of a father (no matter how criminal) 
ipon his child : for feelings with her were so good and true, that they 
upplied in a great measure the place of principles. She knew that 
he could not h ave lived under the same roof with her dreadful parent ; 
rat she still felt an uneasy remorse at thinking he had been driven 
rom that roof in destitution and want. She hastened to dress her- 
elf and seek an audience with her protectory and the latter found 
nth admiration and pleasure that he had anticipated her own instan- 
aneous and involuntary design in the settlement made upon Darvil. 
le then communicated to Alice the compact he had already formed 
rith her father, and she wept and kissed his hand when she heard, 
nd secretly resolved that she would work hard to be enabled to in- 
rease the sum allowed. Oh, if her labours could serve to retrieve a 
larent from the necessity of darker resources for support ! Alas * 
dien crime has bc-come a custom, it is like gaming or drinking — the 
xcitement is wanting ; and had Luke Darvil been suddenly made in- 
Leritor of the wealth of a Rothschild, he would cither still have been 
, villain in one way or the other ; or ennui would have awakened con- 
cience { and he would have died of the change of habit. 

Our banker always seemed more struck by Alice's moral feelings 
han even by her physical beauty. 1 ler love for her child, ftr instance, 
mpressed him powerfully, and he always gazed upon her with softer 
yes when he saw her caressing or nursing the little fatherless creature, 
^hose health was now delicate and precarious. It is difficult to say 



FKNEST JUl.TKAVERS. 121 

whether lie was absolutely in love with Alice ; the phrase is too strong, 
perhaps, to beapplied to aman past fifty, who had gone through emotions 
and trials enough to wear away freshness from_ his heart. His feel- 
ings altogether for Alice, the designs lie entertained towards her, were 
of a very complicated nature ; and it will be long, perhaps, before the 
reader can thoroughly comprehend them. He conducted Alice home 
that day : but he said little by the way, perhaps because his female 
relation, for appearance' sake, accompanied them also. He, however, 
briefly cautioned Alice on no account to communicate to any one that 
it was her father who had been her visitor ; and she still shuddered 
too much at the reminiscence to appear likely to converse on it. The 
banker also judged it advisable to tie so far confidential with Alice's 
servant as to take her aside, and tell her that the inauspicious stranger 
of the previous evening had been a very distant relation of Mrs. 
Butler, who, from a habit of drunkenness, had fallen into evil and 
disorderly courses. The banker added with a sanctified air that he 
trusted, by a little serious conversation, he had led the poor man to 
better notions, and that he had gone home with an altered mind to 
his family. "But, my good Hannah," he concluded, "you know you 
are a superior person, and above the vulgar sin of indiscriminate gossip ; 
therefore, mention what has occurred to no one ; it can do no good to 
Mrs. Butler — it may hurt the man himself, who is well to do — better 
off than he seems j and who, I hope, with grace, may be a sincere 
penitent; and it will also — but that is nothing — very seriously displease 
me. Bv the bye, Hannah, I shall be able to get your grandson into 
the Free School." 

The banker was shrewd enough to perceive that he had carried his 
point ; and he was walking home, satisfied, on the whole, with the way 
matters had been arranged, when he was met by a brother magistrate. 

" Ha ! " said the latter, " and how are you, my good sir ? Do you 
know that we have had the Bow Street officers here, hi search of a 
notorious villain who has broken from prison? He is one of the 
most determined and dexterous burglars in all England, and the run- 
ners have hunted him into our town. His very robberies have 
tracked him by the way. He robbed a gentleman the day before yes- 
terday of his watch, and left him for dead on the road— this was not, 
thirty miles hence." 

"Bless me!" said the banker, with emotion; "and what is the 
vrretch's name?" 

" Why, he has as many aliases as a Spanish grandee; but I believe 
the last name he has assumed is Peter Watts." 

" Oh!" said our friend, relieved, — " well, have the runners found. 
Aim ?" 

" No, but they are on his scent. A fellow answering to his descrip- 
tion was seen by the man at the toll-bar, at daybreak this morning,, 
on the way to F : the officersare after him." 

" I hope he may meet with his deserts — and crime is never un- 
punished, even in this world. My best compliments to your lady : — 
and how is little Jack ?— "Well ! glad to hear it — fine boy, little Jack! 
—good day." 

" Good day, my dear sir. W T orthy man, that !" 



129 EKNEST MA I, TJi A VERS 



CHAPTER IX. 

" But who is this ? thought he, a ierr.bn vile. 
With wicked meaning; and a vulgar style ; 
Hammond they call him — they can give the name 

Of man to devils ; Why am I so tame ? 

Why crush I not the viper ? Fear replied, 

Watch him awhile, and let his strength be tried." — Crasbe. 

The next morning, after breakfast, the banker took bis horse — a 
crop-eared, fast-trotting hackney — and merely leaving word that be 
was going upon business into the country, and should not return to 
dinner, turned his back on the spires of C . 

He rode slowly, for the day was hot. The face of the country, 
which was fair and smiling, might have tempted others to linger by 
the way : but our hard and practical man of the world was more 
influenced by the weather than the loveliness of the scenery. He did 
not look upon Nature with the eye of imagination ; perhaps a rail- 
road, had it then and there existed, would have pleased him better 
than the hanging woods, the shadowy valleys, and the changeful river 
that from time to time beautified the landscape on either side the 
road. But, after all, there is a vast deal of hypocrisy in the affected 
admiration for Natm-e ; — and I don't think one person in a hundred 
cares for what lies by the side of a road, so long as the road itself is 
good, hills levelled, and turnpikes cheap. 

It was midnoon, and many miles had been passed, when the banker 
turned down a green lane and quickened his pace. At the end of 
ibout three-quarters of an hour, he arrived at a little solitary inn, 
called " The Angler," — put up his horse, ordered his dinner at six 
a' clock — begged to borrow a basket to hold his fish — and it was then 
ipparent that a longish cane he had carried with him was capable of 
being extended into a fishing-rod. He fitted in the various joints 
with care, as if to be sure no accident had happened to the implement 
by the journey — pried anxiously into the contents of a blackcase of 
lines and flies — slung the basket behind his back, and while his horse 
was putting down his nose and whisking about his tail, in the course 
}f those nameless coquetries that horses carry on with hostlers — our 
worthy brother of the rod strode rapidly through some green fields^ 
gained the river side, and began fishing with much semblance of 
jarnest interest in the sport. He had caught one trout, seemingly by 
iccident — for the astonished fish was hooked up on the outside ot its 
aw — probably while in the act, not of biting, but of gazing at, the 
lait, when he grew discontented with the srjot he had selected ; and, 
i fter looking round as if to convince himself that he was not liable to 
>e disturbed or observed (a thought hateful to the fishing frater- 
lity), he stole quickly along the margin, and finally quitting the river- 
side altogether, struck into a path that, after a sharp walk of nearly 



Ell.NEST MALTItAVEKS. 123 

?.:i hour, brought him to the door of a cottage. He knocked twice, 
.•iiid then entered of his own accord — nor was it till the summer sun 
was near its decline that the banker regained his hm. His simple 
dinner, which they nad delayed in wonder at the protracted absence 
of the angler, and in expectation of the fishes he was to bring back 
to be fried, was soon despatched ; his horse was ordered to the door, 
and the red clouds in the west already betokened the lapse of another 
day, as he spurred from the spot on the fast-trotting hackney, four- 
teen miles an hour. 

" That ere gemman has a nice bit of blood," said the hostler, 
scratching his ear. 

" Oiy, — who be he ?" said a hanger-on of the stables. 

" I dooant know. He has been here twice afoar, and he never 
cautches anything to sinnify — he be mighty fond of fishing, sure/7/." 

Meanwhile, away sped the banker — milestone on milestone glided 
by — and still, scarce turning a hair, trotted gallantly out the good 
hackney. But the evening grew darker, and it began to rain; a 
drizzling, persevering rain, that wets a man through ere he is aware 
of it. After his fiftieth year, a gentleman who has a tender regard 
for himself does not like to get wet ; and the rain inspired the 
banker, who was subject to rheumatism, with the resolution to make 
a short cut along the fields. There were one or two low hedges by 
this short way, but the banker had been there in the spring, and 
knew every inch of the ground. The hackney leaped easily — and 
the rider had a tolerably practised seat — and two miles saved might 
just prevent the menaced rheumatism : accordingly, our friend 
opened a white gate, and scoured along the fields without any 
misgivings as to the prudence of his choice. He arrived at his 
first leap — there was the hedge, its summit just discernible hi the 
dim light. On the other side, to the right was a haystack, and 
close by this haystack seemed the most eligible place for clearing 
the obstacle. Now since the banker had visited this place, a deep 
ditch, that served as a drain, had been dug at the opposite base 
of the hedge, of which neither horse nor man was aware, so that 
the leap was far more perilous than was anticipated. "Unconscious 
of tins additional obstacle, the rider set off in a canter. The banker 
was high in air, his loins bent back, his rein slackened, his right hand 
raised knowingly — when the horse took fright at an object crouched 
by the haystack — swerved, plunged midway into the ditch, and 
pitched its rider two or three yards over its head. The banker 
recovered himself sooner than might have been expected ; and, finding 
himself, though bruised and shaken, still whole and sound, hastened 
to his horse. But the poor animal had not fared so well as its master, 
and its off-shoulder was either put out or dreadfully sprained. It 
had scrambled its way out of the ditch, and there it stood disconso- 
late by the hedge as lame as one of the trees that, at irregular 
intervals, broke the symmetry of the barrier. On ascertaining the 
extent of his misfortune, the banker became seriously uneasy ; the 
rain increased — he was several miles yet from home — he was in the 
midst of houseless fields, with another leap before him — the leap he 
had just passed behind — and no other egress that he knew of into 



32-Jt ERNiST MALTRAVEltS. 

the main road. While these thoughts passed through his brain, he 
became suddenly aware that he was not alone. The dark object that 
had frightened his horse rose slowly from the snug corner it had 
occupied by the haystack, and a gruff voice that made the banker 
thrill to the marrow of his bones, cried, " Holla ! who the devil are 
you?" 

Lame as his horse was, the banker instantly put his foot into the 
stirrup ; but before he could mount, a heavy gripe was laid on his 
shoulder — and turning round with as much fierceness as he could 
assume, he saw — what the tone of the voice had already led him to 
forebode — the ill-omened and cut-throat features of Luke Darvil. 

" Ha ! ha ! my old annuitant, my clever feelosofer — jolly old boy — 
how are you ? — give us a fist. Who would have thought to meet 
you on a rainy night, by a lone haystack, with a deep ditch on one 
side, and no chimney-pot within sight ? Why, old fellow, I, Luke 
Darvil — I, the vagabond — I, whom you would have sent to the tread- 
mill for being poor, and calling on my own daughter — I am as rich 
as you are here — and as great, and as strong, and as powerful ! " 

And while he spoke, Darvil, who was really an undersized man, 
seemed to swell and dilate, till he appeared half a head taller than 
the shrinking banker, who was five feet eleven inches without his shoes. 

"E — hem ! " said the rich man, clearing his throat, which seemed 
to him uncommonly husky ; " I do not know whether I insulted your 
poverty, my dear Mr. Darvil — I hope not ; but this is hardly a time 
for talking — pray let me mount, and " 

" Not a time ibr talking ! " interrupted Darvil, angrily ; " it's just 
the time to my mind : let me consider, — ay, I told you, that whenever 
we met by the roadside, it would be my turn to have the best of the 
argufying." 

" I dare say — I dare eay, my good fellow." 

" Fellow not me ! — I won't be fellowed now. I say I have the best 
cf it here — man to man — I am your match." 

" But why quarrel with me ? " said the banker, coaxingly ; " I never 
meant you harm, and I am sure you cannot mean me harm." 

" No ! — and why ?" asked Darvil, coolly ; — " why do you think I 
can mean you no harm?" 

" Because your annuity depends on me." 

" Shrewdly put — we'll argufy that point. My life is a bad one, 
not worth more than a year's purchase ; now, suppose you have more 
than fortv pounds about you — it may be better worth my while to 
draw my knife across your gullet than to wait for the quarter-day's 
ten pounds a time. You see it's all a matter of calculation, my dear 
Mr. What's-your-name !" 

" But," replied the banker, and his teeth began to chatter, "I have 
•not forty pounds about me." 

" How do I know that ? — you say so. Well, in the town yonder 
your word goes for more than mine ; I never gainsayed you when you 
put that to me, did I ? But here, by the haystack, my word is better 
than yours ; and if I say you must and shall have forty pounds about 
•you, let's see whether you dare contradict me ! " 

" Look you, Darvil," said the banker summoning up all his energy 



EllNEST MALTItAVERS. Hi* 

and intellect, for his moral power began now to back his physical 
cowardice, and he spoke calmly, and even bravely though his heart 
throbbed aloud against his breast, and you might have knocked him 
down with a feather — "the London runners are even now hot after you." 
" Ha!— you lie!" 

" Upon my honour I speak the truth I heard the news last even- 
ing. Tliey tracked you to C ; they tracked you out of the town : 

a word from me would have given you into their hands. I said 
nothing — you are safe — you may yet escape. I will even help you to 
fly the country, and live out your natural date of years, secure and in 
peace." 

" You did not say that the other day in the snug drawing-room ; 
you see I have the best of it now — own that." 
" I do," said the banker. 
Darvil chuckled, and rubbed his hands. 

The man of wealth once more felt his importance, and went on. 
" This is one side of the question. On the other, suppose you rob 
aud murder me, do you think my death will lessen the heat of the 
pursuit against you? The whole country will be in arms, and 
before forty-eight hours are over, you will be hunted down like a 
mad dog." 

Darvil was silent, as if in thought ; and, after a pause, replied — 
" Well, you are a 'cute one, after all. What have you got about you ? 
you know you drove a hard bargain the other day — now it's my market 
— fustian has riz — kersey has fell." 
" All I have about me shall be yours," said the banker, eagerly. 
" Give it me, tt.en." 

" There !" said the banker, placing his purse and pocket-book into 
Darvil' s hands. 

"And the watch?" 
" The watch ?— well, there ! " 
" What's that ? " 

The banker's senses were shaipened by fear, but they were not so 
sharp as those of Darvil ; he heard nothing but the rain pattering on 
the leaves, and the rush of water in the ditch at hand. Darvil stooped 
and listened — till, raising himself again, with a deep-drawn breath, he 
said, " I think there are rats in the haystack ; they will be running 
over me in my sleep; but they are playful creturs, and I like 'em. 
And now, my dear sir, I am afraid I must put an end to you ! " 
" Good Heavens ! what do you mean ? How ? " 
" Man, there is another world ! " quoth the ruffian, mimicking ihe 
banker's solemn tone in their former interview. " So much the better 
for you ! In that world they don't tell tales." 
"I swear I will never betray you." 
" You do ?— swear it, then." 
" By all mv hopes of earth and heaven ! " 

" What a d — d coward you be ! " said Darvil, laughing scornfully. 
" Go— you are safe. I am in good humour with myself again. I crow- 
over you, for no man can make me tremble. And villain as you think 
me, while you fear me you cannot despise — you respect me. Go, I 
»ay— go." 



126 EllKEST MAl/T-fcAVElib. 

The banker was about to obey, when suddenly, from the haystack, 
a broad, red light streamed upon the pair, and the next moment Dar- 
vil was seized from behind, and struggling in the gripe of a man 
nearly as powerful as himself. The light, which came from a dark- 
lanthom, placed on the ground, revealed the forms of a peasant in a 
smockfrock, and two stout-built, stalwart men, armed with pistols — 
besides the one engaged with Darvil. 

The whole of this scene was brought as by the trick of the stage — 
as by a flash of lightning — as by the change of a showman's phantas- 
magoria — before the astonished eyes of the banker. He stood arrested 
and spell-bound, his hand on his bridle, his foot on his stirrup. A 
moment more, and Darvil had dashed his antagonist on the ground ; 
lie stood at a little distance, his face reddened by the glare of the 
lanthorn, and fronting his assailants — that fiercest of all beasts, a 
desperate man at bay ! He had already succeeded hi drawing forth 
his pistols, and he held one in each hand — his eyes flashing from 
beneath his bent brows, and turning quickly from foe to foe ! At 
last those terrible eyes rested on the late reluctant companion ot 
his solitude. 

" So you then, betrayed me," he said, very slowly, and directed his 
pistol to the head of the dismounted horseman. 

" No, no ! " cried one of the officers, for such were Darvil' s assail- 
ants ; " fire away in this direction, my hearty — we're paid for it. The 
gentleman knew nothing at all about it." 

' Nothing, by G ! " cried the banker, startled out of his 

sanctity. 

" Then I shall keep my shot," said Darvil ; " and mind, the first 
who approaches me is a dead man." 

It so nappenedj that the robber and the officers were beyond the 
distance wnich allows sure mark for a pistol-shot, and each party felt 
the necessity of caution. 

" Your time is up, my swell cove ! " cried the head of the detach- 
ment ; " you have had your swing, and a long one it seems to have 
been — you must now give in. Throw down your barkers, or we must 
make mutton of you, and rob the gallows." 

Darvil did not reply, and the officers, accustomed to hold hie cheap, 
moved on towards him — then pistols cocked and levelled. 

Darvil fired — one of the men staggered and fell. With a kind of 
instinct, Darvil had singled out the one with whom he had before 
wrestled for life. The ruffian waited not for the others— he turned 
nd fled along the fields. 

" Zounds, he is off! " cried the other two, and they rushed after Imn 
n pursuit. A pause — a shot — another — an oath — a groan — and all 
was still. 

" It's all up with him now ! " said one of the runners, in the dis- 
tance ; " he dies game." 

At these words, the peasant, who had before skulked behind the 
haystack, seized the lanthorn from the ground, and ran to the spot. 
The banker involuntarily followed. 

There lay Luke Darvil on the grass — still living, but a horrible and 
ghastly spectacle. One bull had pierced his breast, another had shot 



ERNEST JLYLTRAVE'IIS. 127 

away his jaw. His eyes rolled fearfully, and he tore up the grass with 
his hands. 

The officers looked coldly on. " He was a clever fellow ! " said 
one. 

" And has given us much trouble," said the other ; " let us see to 
Will." 

" But he's not dead yet," said the banker, shuddering. 

" Sir, he cannot live a minute." 

Darvil raised himself bolt upright — shook his clenched fist at his 
conquerors, and a fearful gurgling Tiowl, winch the nature of his wound 
did not allow him to syllable into a curse, came from his breast — with 
that lie fell flat on his back — a corpse. 

" I am afraid, sir," said the elder officer, turning away, " you had a 
narrow escape — but how came you here ? " 

" Rather, how came you here ? " 

" Honest Hodge there, with the lanthorn, had marked the fellow 
skulk behind the haystack, when he himself was going out to snare 
rabbits. He had seen our advertisement of Watt's person, and 
knew that we were then at a public-house some miles off. He 
came to us — conducted us to the spot — we heard voices — showed 
up the glim— and saw our man. Hodge, you arc a good subject, 
and love justice." 

" Yees, but I shall have the rewourd," said Hodge, showing his 
teeth. 

" Talk o' that by-and-by," said the officer. " Will, how are you, 
man ? " 

" Bad," groaned the poor runner, and a rush of blood from the lips 
followed the groan. 

It was many days before the ex-member for C sufficiently 

recovered the tone of Ms mind to think further of Alice ; when he did, 
it was with great satisfaction that he reflected that Darvil was no 
more, and that the deceased ruffian was only known to the neighbour- 
hood by the name of Peter Wsita 



BOOK V 



CHAPTER I. 

***** My genius spreads her win£, 
And flies where Britain courts the western spring. 
****** * 

Vride in their port, defiance in their eye, 
I see the lords of human kind pass by. 
Intent on high designs." — Goldsmith. 

I iiate no respect for the Englishman who re-enters London aftei 
long residence abroad, without a pulse that beats quick, and a heart 
that heaves high. The public buildings are few, and, for the most 
part, mean ; the monuments of antiquity not comparable to those which 
the pettiest town in Italy can boast of ; the palaces are sad rubbish : 
the houses of our peers and princes are shabby and shapeless heaps of 
brick. But what of all this ? the spirit of London is in her thorough- 
fares — her population ! What wealth — what cleanliness — what order 
— what animation ! How majestic, and yet how vivid, is the life that 
runs through her myriad veins ! _ How, as the lamps blaze upon you 
at night, and street after street glides by your wheels, each so regular 
in its symmetry, so equal in its civilization — how all speak of the 
City of Ereemen ! 

Yes, Maltraver's felt his heart swell within him, as the post-horses 
whirled on his dingy carriage — over Westminster Bridge — along 
Whitehall — through Regent Street — towards one of the quiet and 
private house-like hotels, that are scattered round the neighbourhood 
of Grosvenor Square. 

Ernest's arrival had been expected. He had written from Paris to 
Cleveland to announce it ; and Cleveland had, in reply, informed him 
that he had engaged apartments for him atMivart's. The smiling 
waiters ushered him into a spacious and well-aired room — the arm- 
chair was already wheeled by the fire — a score or so of letters strewed 
the table, together with two of the evening papers. And how eloquently 
of busy England do those evening papers speak ! A stranger might 
have felt that he wanted no friend to welcome him — the whole room 
smiled on him a welcome. 

Maltravers ordered his dinner and opened his letters : they were of 
no importance ; one from his steward, one from his banker, another 
about the county races, a fourth from a man he had never heard of, 
requesting the vote and powerful interest of Mr. Maltravers for the 
county of B , should the rumour of a dissolution be verified ; the 



BRNEST MA.LTRAVEES. 129 

unknown candidate referred Mr. Maltravcrs to Ids "well-known 
public character." From these epistles Ernest turned impatiently, 
and perceived a little three-cornered note which had hitherto escaped 
his attention. It was from Cleveland, intimating that he was in 
town ; that his health still precluded his going out, but that he trusted 
to see his dear Ernest as soon as he arrived. 

Maltravers was delighted at the prospect of passing his evening -» 
agreeably ; he soon despatched his dinner and his newspapers, and. 
walked in the brilliant lamplight of a clear frosty evening of early- 
December in London, to his friend's house in Curzon Street : a small 
bouse, bachelor-like and unpretending; for Cleveland spent his 
moderate though easy fortune almost entirely at his country villa. 
The familiar face of the old valet greeted Ernest at the door, and he 
only paused to hear that his guardian was nearly recovered to his 
usual health, ere he was in the cheerful drawing-room, and — since 
Englishmen do not embrace — returning the cordial gripe of the kindly 
Cleveland. 

"Well, my dear Ernest," said Cleveland, after they had gone 
through the preliminary round of questions and answers, " here you 
are at last : Heaven be praised ; and how well you are looking — now 
much you are improved ! It is an excellent period of the year for 
your debut in London. I shall have time to make you intimate with 
people before the whirl of 'the season' commences." 

" Why, I thought of going to Burleigh, my country-place. I have 
not seen it since I was a child." 

" No, no ! you have had solitude enough at Como, if I may trust to 
your letter ; you must now mix with the great London world ; and you 
will enjoy Burleigh the more in the summer." 

" I fancy this great London world will give me very little pleasure ; 
it may be pleasant enough to young men just let loose from college, 
but your crowded ball-rooms and monotonous clubs will be wearisome 
to one who has grown fastidious before his time. J'ai vecu beaucoup 
dans peu d'annees. I have drawn in youth too much upon the capital 
of existence, to be highly delighted with the ostentatious parsimony 
with which our great men economise pleasure." 

" Don't judge before you have gone through the trial," said Cleve- 
land : " there is something in the opulent splendour, the thoroughly 
sustained magnificence, with which the leaders of English fashion con- 
duct even the most msipid amusements, that is above contempt. 
Besides, you need not necessarily live with the butterflies. There are 
plenty of bees that will be very happy to make your acquaintance. 
Add to this, my dear Ernest, the pleasure of being made of— of being 
of importance in your own country. For you are young, well-born, 
and sufficiently handsome to be an object of interest to mothers and to 
daughters ; while your name, and property, and interest, will make 
you courted by men who want, to borrow your money and obtain your 
influence in your county. No. Maltravers, stay in London— arouse 
yourself your first year, and decide on your occupation and career the 
next ; but reconnoitre before you give battle." 

Maltravers was not ill pleased to follow his friend's idvice, since by 
so doing Le obtained his friend's guidance aud society. Moreover, be 

K 



130 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

deemed it wise and rational to see, face to face, the eminent men in 
England, with whom, if he fulfilled his promise to De Montaigne, he 
was to rnn the race of honourable rivalry. Accordingly, be consented 
to Cleveland's propositions. 

" And have you," said he, hesitating, as he loitered by the door 
after the stroke of twelve had warned him to take his leave — 
" have you never heard anything of my — my — the unfortunate Alice 
Darvil?" 

" Who ? — Oh, that poor young woman ; I remember !— not a syl- 
lable." 

Maltravers sighed deeply, and departed. 



CHAPTER U. 

-' Je trouve que c'est line folic de vouloir etudier le monde en simple specta- 
teur. * * Dans l'ecole du monde, comme dans cette de l'amovir, il 
faut commencer par pratiquer ce qu'on veut apprendre."* — Rousseau. 

Ernest Maltravers was now fairly launched upon the wide ocean 
of London. Amongst his other property was a house in Seamore 
Place — that quiet, yet central street, which enjoys the air without the 
dust of the Park. It had been hitherto let, and the tenant now quit- 
ting very opportunely, Maltravers was delighted to secure so pleasant 
a residence ; for he was still romantic enough to desire to look out 
upon trees and verdure rather than brick houses. He indulged only 
in two other luxuries : his love of music tempted him to an opera-box, 
and he had thivt English feeling which prides itself in the possession 
of beautiful hovses, — a feeling that enticed him into an extravagance 
on this head tha\ baffled the competition and excited the envy of much 
richer men. Bui four thousand a year goes a great way with a single 
man who does not gamble, and is too philosophical to make super- 
fluities wants. 

The world douh ed his income, magnified his old country-seat into 
a superb chateau, j nd discovered that his elder brother, who was only 
three or four years older than himself, had no children. The world 
was very courteous to Ernest Maltravers. 

It was, as Cleveland said, just at that time of year when people 
are at leisure to make new acquaintances. A few only of the most 
diificult houses in town were open ; and their doors were cheerfully 
expanded to the accomplished ward of the popular Cleveland. Authors, 
and statesmen, and orators, and philosophers — to all he was presented; 
— all seemed pleased with him, and Ernest became the fashion before 
he was conscious of the distinction. But he had rightly foreboded. 
He had commenced life too soon ; he was disappointed ; he found 
some persons he could admire, some whom he could like, but none 

* i find that it is a folly to wish to study the world like a simple spectator. * * * 
In the school of the world, as iii that of love, it is necessary to begin by practising 
what we wish to leam. 



EKNEST MALTBAVEBS. 131 

with whom he could grow intimate, or for whom ne could feel an 
interest. Neither his heart nor his imagination was touched ; all ap- 
peared to him like artificial machines ; he was discontented with things 
like life, but in which something or other was wanting. He more 
than ever recalled the brilliant graces of Valerie de Ventadour, which 
had thrown a charm over the most frivolous circles; he even missed 
the perverse and fantastic vanity of Castruccio. The mediocre poet 
seemed to him at least less mediocre than the worldlings about him. 
Nay, even the selfish good spirits and dry shrewdness of Lumley 
Ferrers would have been an acceptable change to the dull polish and 
unrevealed egotism of jealous wits and party politicians. "If these 
are the flowers of the parterre, what must be the weeds ?" said Mal- 
travers to himself, returning from a party at which he had met half a 
score of the most orthodox lions. 

He began to feel the aching pain of satiety. 

But the winter glided away — the season commenced, andMaltravers 
was whirled on with the rest into the bubbling vortex. 



CHAPTER HI. 

*• And crowds commencing mere vexation, 
Retirement sent its invitation." — Shenstone. 

The tench, no doubt, considers the pond in which he lives as the 
Great "World. There is no place, however stagnant, which is not the 

freat world to the creatures that move about in it. People who have 
ved all their lives in a village still talk of the world as if they had 
ever seen it ! An old woman iu a hovel does not put her nose out of 
her door on a Sunday without thinking she is going amongst the 
pomps and vanities of the great world. JErgo, the great world is to 
all of us the little circle in which we live. But as fine people set the 
fashion, so the circle of fine people is called the Great World, par 
excellence. Now this great world is not a bad thing when wo 
thoroughly understand it ; and the London great world is at least as 
good as any other. But, then, we scarcely do understand that or any- 
thing else in our beaux jours, — which, if they are sometimes the most 
exquisite, are also often the most melancholy and the most wasted 
portion of our life. Maltravers had not yet found out either t/icouz 
that pleased him or the species of amusement that really amused. 
Therefore he drifted on and about the vast whirlpool, making plenty 
of friends — going to balls and dinners — and bored with both, as men 
are who have no object in society. Now the way society is enjoyed is 
to Lave a pursuit, a metier of some kind, and then to go into the world, 
either to make the individual object a social pleasure, or to obtain a 
reprieve from some toilsome avocation. Thus"if you are a politician — 
padtics at once make an object in your closet, and a social tie between 
others and yourself when you are in the world. The same may be 
said of literature, though in a less degree • and though, as fewer per- 

k9 



132 ERNEST MALX1UVEBS. 

sons care about literature tha*. politics, your companions must be 
more select. If you are very young, you are fond oi dancing ; if you 
are very profligate, perhaps yon are fond of flirtations with your 
friend's wife. These last are objects in their way : but they don't 
last Ion", and, even with the most frivolous, are not occupations that 
satisfy the whole mind and heart, in which there is generally an aspi- 
ration after something useful. It is not vanity alone that makes a 
man of the mode invent a new bit, or give his name to a new kind ol 
carriage; it is the influence of that mystic yearning after utility, 
which is one of the master-ties between the individual and the 
species. 

Maltravers was not happy — that is a lot common enough ; but he 
was not amused — and that is a sentence more insupportable. He lost 
a great part of his sympathy with Cleveland, for, when a man is not 
amused, he feels an involuntary contempt for those who are. He 
fancies they are pleased with trifles which his superior wisdom is 
compelled to disdain. Cleveland was of that age when we generally 
grow social — for by being rubbed long and often against the great 
loadstone of society, we obtain, in a thousand little minute points, an 
attraction in common with our fellows. Their petty sorrows and 
small joys — their objects of interest or employment, at some time or 
other have been ours. We gather up a vast collection of moral and 
mental farthings of exchange ; and we scarcely find any intellect too 
poor, but what we can deal with it in some way. But in youth, we 
are egotists and sentimentalists, and Maltravers belonged to the 
fraternity who employ 

" The heart in passion and the head in rhymes." 

At length— just when London begins to grow most pleasant — when 
flirtations become tender, and water-parties numerous — when birds 
sing in the groves of Richmond, and whitebait refresh the statesman 
by the shores of Greenwich, — Maltravers abruptly fled from the gay 
metropolis, and arrived, one lovely evening in July, at his own ivy- 
grown porch of Burleigh. 

What a soft, fresh, delicious evening it was ! He had quitted his 
carriage at the lodge, and followed it across the small but picturesque 
park alone anl on foot. He had not seen the place since childhood — 
tie had quite forgotten its aspect. He now wondered how he could 
have lived anywhere else. The trees did not stand in stately avenues, 
nor did the antlers of the deer wave above the sombre fern ; it was 
not the domain of a grand seigneur, but of an old, long-descended 
English squire. Antiquity spoke in the moss-grown palings, in the 
shadowy groves, in the sharp gable-ends and heavy midlions of the 
house, as it now came in view, at the base of a hill covered with 
wood — and partially veiled by the shrubs of the neglected pleasure- 
ground, separated from the park by the invisible ha-ha. There, 
gleamed in the twilight the watery face of the oblong fish-pool, with 
fts old-fasliioned willows at each corner — there, grey and quaint, was 
the monastic dial— and there was the long terrace-walk, with disco- 
loured and broken vases, now filled with the orange or the aloe. 
.«5ieh, in honour of his master's arrival, the gardener had extracted 



h 



EktJEST MALTRAVEB3. J 33 

from the dilapidated green-house. The very evidence of neglect 
around, the very weeds and grass on the half-obliterated road, touched 
Maltravers with a sort of pitying and remorsefid affection for his calm 
and sequestered residence. And it was not with his usual proud step 
and erect crest that he passed from the porch to the solitary library,- 
tlirough a line of his servants : — the two or three old retainers belong 
ing to the place were utterly unfamiliar to him, and they had no smile 
for their stranger lord. 



CHAPTER TV. 

" Lucian. He that is born to be a man, neither should nor can be anything 
nobler, greater, and better than a man. 

" Peregrine. But, good Lucian, for the very reason that he may not become less 
than a man, he should be always striving to be more." — Wieland's Peregrinut 
Proteus. 

It was two years from the date of the last chapter before Maltravers 
again appeared in general society. These two years had sufficed to 
produce a revolution in his fate. Ernest Maltravers had lost the 
happy rights of the private individual ; he had given himself to the 
Public : he had surrendered his name to men's tongues, and was a. 
thing that all had a right to praise, to blame, to scrutinise, to spy.' 
Ernest Maltravers had become an author. 

Let no man tempt Gods and Columns, without weighing well the 
consequences of his experiment. He who publishes a book, attended 
with a moderate success, passes a mighty barrier. He will often look 
back with a sigh of regret at the land he has left for ever. The beau- 
tiful and decent obscurity of hearth and home is gone. He can no 
longer feel the just indignation of manly pride when he finds himself 
ridiculed or reviled. He has parted with the shadow of his life. His 
motives may be misrepresented, his character belied ; his manners, his 
person, his dress, the " very trick of his walk," are all fair food for 
the cavil and the caricature. He can never go back, he cannot even 
pause ; he has chosen his path, and all the natural feelings that make 
the nerve and muscle of the active being, urge him to proceed. To 
stop short is to fail. He has told the world that he will make a 
name ■ and he must be set down as a pretender, or toil on till the 
boast oe fulfilled. Yet Maltravers thought nothing of all this when, 
intoxicated with his own dreams and aspirations, he desired to make 
a world his confidant ; when from the bving Nature, and the lore of 
books, and the mingled result of inward study and external observa- 
tion, he sought to draw forth something that might interweave his 
name with the pleasurable associations of his kind. His easy for- 
tune and lonely state gave him up to his own thoughts and contem- 
plations ; they suffused his mind, till it ran over upon the page which 
makes the channel that connects the sobtary Fountain with the vast 
Ocean of Human Knowledge. The temperament of Maltravers was, 
as we have seen, neither irritable nor feavfi l He formed himself, as 



134 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

a sculptor forms, with a model before Ms eyes, and an ideal in his 
heart. He endeavoured, with labour and patience, to approach nearer 
and nearer with every effort to the standard of such excellence as he 
thought might ultimately be attained by a reasonable ambition ; and 
when, at last, his judgment was satisfied, he surrendered the product 
with a tranquil confidence to a more impartial tribunal. 

His first work was successful ; perhaps from this reason — that it 
bore the stamp of the Honest and the Heal. He did not sit down to 
report of what lie had never seen, to dilate on what he had never felt. 
A quiet and thoughtful observer of life, his descriptions were the more 
vivid, because his own first impressions were not yet worn away. His 
experience had sunk deep ; not on the arid surface of matured age, 
but in the fresh soil of youthful emotions. Another reason, perhaps, 
that obtained success for his essay was, that he had more varied and 
more elaborate knowledge than young authors think it necessary to 
possess. He did not, like Cesarini, attempt to make a show of words 
upon a slender capital_ of ideas. Whether his style was eloquent or 
homely, it was still in him a faithful transcript of considered and 
digested thought. A third reason — and I dwell on these points not 
more to elucidate the career of Maltravers, than as hints which may 
be useful to others — a third reason why Maltravers obtained a prompt 
and favourable reception from the public was, that he had not hack- 
neyed his peculiarities of diction and thought in that worst of all 
schools for the literary novice — the columns of a magazine. Periodicals 
form an excellent mode of communication between the public and an 
author already^ established, who has lost the charm of novelty, but 
gained the weight of acknowledged reputation ; and who, either upon 
politics or criticism, seeks for frequent and continuous occasions to 
enforce his peculiar theses and doctrines. But, upon the young 
writer, this mode of communication, if too long contmued, operates 
most injuriously both as to his future prospects and his own present 
taste and style. With respect to the first, it familiarises the public 
tt his mannerism (and all writers worth reading have mannerism) in 
a form to which the said public are not inclined to attach much 
weight. He forestalls in a few months what ought to be the effect of 
years ; namely, the wearying a world soon nauseated with the toujours 
perdrix. With respect to the last, it induces a man to write for 
momentary effects ; to study a false smartness of style and reasoning ; 
to bound his ambition of durability to the last day of the month; to 
expect immediate eturns for labour ; to recoil at the " hope deferred" 
of serious works on which judgment is slowly farmed. The man of 
talent who begins young at periodicals, and goes on long, has gene- 
rally something crude and stunted about both his compositions and his 
celebrity. He grows the oracle of small coteries ; and we can rarely 
get out of the impression that he is cockneyfied and conventional. 
Periodicals sadly mortgaged the claims that Hazlitt, and many others 
of his contemporaries, had upon a vast reversionary estate of Fame. 
But I here speak too politically ; to some, the res angustte dom leave 
no option. And, as Aristotle and the Greek proverb have it, we 
cannot carve out all things with the knife of the Delphic cutler. 

The second work thai Maltravers put forth, at an interval of 



EIINEST M \LTRAVEKS. 

eighteen months from the first, was one of a graver and higher nature j 
it served to confirm his reputation ; and that is success enough for a 
second work, which is usually an author's " pons asinorum." He who, 
after a triumphant first book, does not dissatisfy the public with a 
second, has a fair chance of gaining a fixed station in literature. But 
now commenced the pains and perils of the after-birth. By a maidem 
effort an author rarely makes enemies. His fellow-writers are not 
yet prepared to consider him as a rival ; if he be tolerably rich, they 
unconsciously trust that he will not become a regular, or, as they 
term it, "a professional" author : he did something just to be talked 
of ; he may write no more, or bis second book may fail. But when 
that second book comes out, and does not fail, they begin to look 
about them ; envy wakens, malice begins. _ And all the old school — 
gentlemen who have retired on their pensions of renown— regard him. 
as an intruder : then the sneer, then the frown, the caustic irony, the 
biting review, the depreciating praise. The novice begins to think 
that he is furtner from the goal than before he set out upon the race. 

Maltravers had, upon the whole, a tolerably happy temperament ; 
but he was a very proud man, and he had the nice soul of a courage- 
ous, honourable, punctilious gentleman. He thought it singular that 
society should call upon him, as a gentleman, to shoot his best friend, 
if that friend affronted him with a rude word ; and yet that, as an 
author, every fool and liar might, with perfect impunity, cover reams of 
paper with the most virulent personal abuse of him. 

It was one evening in the early summer that, revolving anxious and 
doubtful thoughts, Ernest sauntered gloomily along his terrace, 

" And watched with wistful eyes the setting sun," 

when he perceived a dusty travelling carriage whirled along the road 
by the ha-ha, and a hand waved in recognition from the open window. 
His guests had been so rare, and his friends were so few, that Mal- 
travers could not conjecture who was his intended visitant. His 
brother, he knew was m London. Cleveland, from whom he had that 
day heard, was at his villa. Ferrers was enjoying himself at Vienna, 
TVho could it be ? ¥e may say of solitude what we please ; but, 
after two years of solitude, a visitor is a pleasurable excitement. Mal- 
travers retraced his steps, entered his house, and was just in time to 
find himself almost in the arms of De Montaigne. 



CHAPTER V. 

" Quid tam dextro pede concipis ut e, 
Conatus non poeniteat, votique pcracti?"*— Jcv. 

" Yes," said De Montaigne, " in my way / also am fulfilling mj 
destiny. I am a member of the Chambre de Deputes, and on a visit 
to England upon some commercial afiairs. I found myself in your 

« What under such happy auspices do you conceive, that rou may not repcntai 
your endeavour and accomplished wish ■> 



130 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

"teighbourhood, and, of course, could not resist the temptation : ho 
iou must receive me as your guest for some days." 

" I congratulate you cordially on your senatorial honours. I have 
Jready heard of your rising name." 

"I return the congratulations with equal warmth. You are bring- 
ing my prophecies to pass. I have read your works with increased 
pride at our friendship." 

Maltravers sighed slightly, and half turned away. 
The desire of distinction," said he, after a pause, " grows upon us 
till excitement becomes disease. The child who is born with the 
Mariner's instinct laughs with glee when his paper bark skims the 
wave of a pool. _By-and-by, nothing will content him but the ship 
and the ocean. — Like the child is the author." 

"I am pleased with your simile," said De Montaigne, smiling. 
" Do not spoil it, but go on with your argument." 

Maltravers continued — "Scarcely do we win the applause of a 
moment, ere we summon the past and conjecture the future. Our 
contemporaries no longer suffice for competitors, our age for the 
Court to pronounce on our claims : we call up the Dead as our only 
true rivals— we appeal to Posterity as our sole just tribunal. Is thia 
vain in us ? Possibly. Yet such vanity humbles. "Es then only we 
learn all the difference between Reputation and Pame — between 
To-Day and Immortality ! " 

"Do you think," replied De Montaigne, "that the dead did not 
feel the same, when they first trod the path that leads to the life be- 
yond life ? Continue to cultivate the mind, to sharpen by exercise 
the genius, to attempt to delight or to instruct your race ; and even 
supposing you fall short of every model you set before you — supposing 
your name moulder with your dust, still yoi? will have passed life 
more nobly than the unlaborious herd. Grant that you win not that 
glorious accident, ' a name below 2 ' how can you tell but what you may 
nave fitted yourself for high destiny and employ in the world not of 
men, but of spirits ? The powers of the mind are things that cannot 
be less immortal than the mere sense of identity ; their acquisitions 
accompany us through the Eternal Progress ; and we may obtain a 
lower or a higher grade hereafter, in proportion as we are more or less 
fitted by the exercise of our intellect to comprehend and execute the 
solemn agencies of God. The wise man is nearer to the angels than 
the fool is. This may be an apocryphal dogma, but it is not an im- 
possible theory." 

" But we may waste the sound enjoyments of actual life in chasing 
the hope you justly allow to be ' apocryphal;' and our knowledge may 
go for nothing in the eyes of the Omniscient." 

"Very well," saidDe Montaigne, smiling; "but answer me honestly. 
By the pursuits of intellectual ambition, do you waste the sound en- 
joyments of life ? If so, you do not pursue the system rightly. Those 
pursuits ought only to quicken your sense for such pleasures as are the 
true relaxations of life. And this, with you peculiarly, since you are 
fortunate enough not to to depend for subsistence upon literature ; — 
did you do so, I might rather advise you to be a trunkmaker than an 
.uthor. A man ought not to attempt any of the highest walks of 



miNEST MaJ/IUAVEHS. 137 

Mind and Art, as the mere provision of daily bread ; not literature 
alone, but everything else of the same degree. He ought not to be a 
statesman, or an orator, or a pliilosopher, as a thing of pence and 
shillings : and usually all men, save the poor poet, feel this truth 
insensibly." 

" This may be fine preaching," said Maltravers ; " but you may be 
quite sure that the pursuit of literature is a pursuit apart from the 
ordinary objects of life, and you cannot command the enjoyments of 
both." 

" I think otherwise," said De Montaigne ; "but it is not in a country- 
house eighty miles from the capital, without wife, guests, or friends, 
that the experiment can be fairly made. Come, Maltravers, I see 
before you a brave career, and I cannot permit you to halt at the 
onset." 

" You do not see all the calumnies that are already put forth against 
me, to say nothing of all the assurances (and many by clever men) that 
there is nothing in me !" 

" Dennis was a clever man, and said the same' thing of your Pope. 
Madame de Sevigne was a clever woman, but she thought Racuie 
would never be very famous. Milton saw nothing in the first efforts of 
Dryden, that made him consider Dryden better than a rhymester. 
Aristophanes was a good judge of poetry, yet how ill he judged of 
Euripides ! But all this is commonplace, and yet you bring argument* 
that a commonplace answers in evidence against yourself. 1 " 

" But it is unpleasant not to answer attacks — not to retaliate on 
aiemies." 

" Then answer attacks, and retaliate on enemies." 

" But would that be wise ?" 

1 If it give you pleasure — it would not please me" 

'" Come, De Montaigne, you are reasoning Socratically. I .will ask 
you plainly and bluntly, would you advise an author to wage war on 
his literary assailants, or to despise them?" 

" Both ; let him attack but few, and those rarely. But it is hia 
policy to show that he is one whom it is better not to provoke too far. 
The author always has the world on his side against the critics, if he 
choose his opportunity. And he must always recollect that he is 
'a state' in himself, which must sometimes go to war in order to 
procure peace. The time for war or for peace must be left to the 
State's own diplomacy and wisdom." 

" You would make us political machines." 

" I would make every man's conduct more or less mechanical ; for 
system is the triumph of mind over matter ; the just equilibrium of all 
the powers and passions may seem like machinery. Be it so. Nature 
meant the world— the creation — man himself, for machines." 

" And one must even be in a passion mechanically, according to your 
theories." 

"A man is a poor creature who is not in a passion sometimes ; but 
a very unjust, or a very foolish one, if he be in a passion with the 
wrong person, and in the wrong place and time. But enough of this, 
it is growing late." 

"And when will Madame visit England?" 



133 ERNEST MALTEAVEB.S. 

" Oh, i\ot yet, I fear. But you will meet Cesarini in London tliis 
year or next. He is persuaded that you did not see justice done to his 
poemsj and is coming here as soon as his indolence will let him, to 
proclaim your treachery in a biting preface to some toothless satire." 

!' Satire!" 

" Yes ; more than one of your poets made their way by a satire, and 
Cesarini is persuaded he shall do the same. Castruccio is not as far- 
sighted as nis namesake, the Prince of Lucca. Gooc" night, my dear 
Ernest." 



CffAPTEH VL 

" When with much pains this boasted learning's got. 
"Tis an affront to those who have it not." 

Churchill: The Author. 

Theke was something in De Montaigne's conversation, which, with- 
out actual flattery, reconciled Maltravers to himself and his career. 
It served less, perhaps, to excite than to sober and brace his mind. 
De Montaigne could have made no man rash, but he could have made 
many men energetic and persevering. The two friends had some 
points in common ; but Maltravers had far more prodigality of nature 
and passion about him — had more of flesh and blood, with the faults 
and excellencies of flesh and blood. _ De Montaigne held so much to 
his favourite doctrine of moral equilibrium, that he had really reduced 
himself, in much, to a species of clockwork As impulses are formed 
from habits, so the regularity of De Montaigne's habits made his im- 
pulses ■virtuous and just, and he yielded to them as often as a hasty 
character might have done ; but then those impulses never urged to 
anything speculative or daring. De Montaigne could not go bej - ond 
a certain defined circle of action. He had no sympathy for any 
reasonings based purely on the hypotheses of the imagination : he 
could not endure Plato, and he was dumb to the eloquent whispers of 
whatever was refining in poetry or mystical in wisdom. 

Maltravers, on the contrary, not disdaining Reason, ever sought to 
assist her by the Imaginative Faculty, and held all philosophy incom- 
plete and unsatisfactory that bounded its inquiries to the limits of the 
Known and Certain. He loved the inductive process ; but he carried 
it out to Conjecture as well as Fact. He maintained that, by a similar 
hardihood, all the triumphs of science, as well as art, had oeen accom- 
plished — that Newton, that Copernicus, would have done nothing if 
they had not imagined as well as reasoned, guessed as well as ascer- 
tained. Nay, it was an aphorism with him, that the very soul of 
philosophy is conjecture. He had the most implicit confidence in the 
operations of the mind and the heart properly formed, and deemed 
that the very excesses of emotion and thought, in men well trained by 
experience and study, are conducive to useful and great ends. But 
the more advanced years, and the singularly practical character of De 
Montaigne's -views, gave him a superiority in argument OTer Mai- 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 139 

travers, which the last submitted to unwillingly. While, ontheothet 
hand, De Montaigne secretly felt that his young friend reasoned from 
a broader base, and took in a much wider circumference ; and that he 
was, at once, more liable to failure and error, and more capable of new 
discovery and of intellectual achievement. But their ways in life 
being different, they did not clash ; and De Montaigne, who was sin- 
cerely interested in Ernest's fate, was contented to harden his friend's 
mind against the obstacles in his way, and leave the rest to experiment 
and to Providence. They went up to London together : and De Mon- 
taigne returned to Paris. Maltravers appeared once more in the 
haunts of the gay and great. He felt that his new character had 
greatly altered his position. He was no longer courted and caressed 
for the same vulgar and adventitious circumstances of fortune, birth. 
and connections, as before — yet for circumstances that to him seemed 
equally unflattering. _ He was not sought for his merit, his intellect, 
his talents ; but for his momentary celebrity. He was an author in 
fashion, and run after as anything else in fashion might have been. 
He was invited, less to be talked to than_ to be stared at. He was 
far too proud in his t •rmper, and too pure in his ambition, to feel his 
vanity elated by sharing the enthusiasm of the circles with a German 
prince or an industrious flea. Accordingly he soon repelled the ad- 
vances made to him, was reserved and supercilious to fine ladies, re- 
fused to be the fashion, and became very unpopular with the literary 
exclusives. They even began to run down the works, because they 
were dissatisfied with the author. But Maltravers had based his ex- 
periments upon the vast masses of the general Public. He had called 
the people of his own and other countries to be his audience and his 
judges ; and all the coteries in the world could not have injured him. 
He was like the member for an immense constituency, who may offend 
individuals, so long as he keep his footing with the body at large. But 
while he withdrew himself from the insipid and the idle, he took care 
not to become separated from the world. He formed his own society 
according to his tastes : took pleasure in the maniy and exciting topic? 
of the day : and sharpened his observation and widened Ids sphere a3 
an author, by mixing freely and boldly with all classes as a citizen. 
But literature became to him as art to the artist — as his mistress to 
the lover — an engrossing and passionate delight. He made it his 
glorious and divine profession — he loved it as a profession— he devoted 
to its pursuits and honours his youth, cares, dreams — his mind, and 
his heart, and his soul. He was a silent but intense enthusiast in the 
priesthood he had entered. From literature he imagined had come 
all that makes nations enlightened and men humane. And he loved 
Literature the more, because her distinctions were not those of the 
world — because she had neither ribands, nor stars, nor high places at 
her command. A name in the deep gratitude and hereditary delight 
of men — this was the title she bestowed. Hers was the Great Prim- 
itive Church of the world, without Popes or Muftis — sinecures, 
pluralties, and hierarchies. Her servants spoke to the earth as the 
prophets of old, anxious only to be heard and believed. Pull of this 
fanaticism, Ernest Maltravers pursued his way in the great procession 
of the myrtle-bearers to the sacred shrine. He carried the thyrsus. 



140 EKNESX MALTRAVERS. 

and he believed in the god. By degrees his fanaticism worked in him 
the philosophy which De Montaigne would have derived from sober 
calculation ; it made him indifferent to the thorns in the path, to the 
storms in the sky. He learned to despise the enmity he provoked, 
the calumnies that assailed him. Sometimes he was silent, but some- 
times he retorted. Like a soldier who serves a cause, he believed that 
when the cause was injured in his person, the weapons confided to 
his hands might be wielded without fear and without reproach. 
Gradually he became feared as well as known. And while many 
abused hrm, none could contemn. 

It would not suit the design of this work to follow Maltravers step 
by step in his course. I am only describing the principal events, not 
the minute details, of his intellectual life. Of the character of his 
works it will be enough to say, that whatever their faults, they were 
original—they were Ms own. He did not write according to copy, 
nor compile from commonplace-books. He was an artist, it is true, — 
for what is genius itself but art ? but he took laws, and harmony, and 
order, from the great code of Truth and Nature ; a code that demands 
intense and unrelaxing study— though its first principles are few and 
simple : that study Maltravers did not shrink from. It was a deep love of 
truth that made him a subtle and searching analyst, even in what the 
dull world considers trifles ; for he knew that nothing in literature is 
m itself trifling — that it is often but a hair's breadth that divides a 
truism from a discovery. He was the more original because he sought 
rather after the True than the New. No two minds are ever the 
same ; and therefore any man who will give us fairly and frankly the 
results of his own impressions, rminfluenced by the servilities of imi- 
tation, will be original. But it was not from originality, which really 
made his predominant merit, that Maltravers derived his reputation, 
%r his originality was not of that species which generally dazzles the 
vulgar — it was not extravagant nor bizarre — he affected no system and 
•no school. Many authors of his day seemed more novel and unique to 
the superficial. Profound and durable invention proceeds by subtle 
and fine gradations — it has nothing to do with those jerks and starts, 
those convulsions and distortions, which belong not to the vigour and 
health, but to the epilepsy and disease, of Literature. 



CHAPTER VII. 

** Being: got out of town, the first thing I did was to give my mule her head. — 

Gil Bias. 

Although the character of Maltravers was gradually becoming 
more hard and severe, — although as his reason grew more muscular, 
his imagination lost something of its early bloom, and he was already 
very different from the wild boy who had set the German youths in a 
blaze, and had changed into a Castle of Indolence the little cottage, 
tenanted with Poetry and ALicc, — he still preserved many of his old 



ERITEST MALTR4VEUS. 141 

habits ; he loved, at frequent intervals, to disappear from the great 
world— to get rid of books and friends, and luxury and wealth, and 
make solitary excursions, sometimes on foot, sometimes on horseback, 
through this fair garden of England. 

_ It was one soft May-day that he found himself on such an expedi- 
tion, slowly riding througn one of the green lanes of shire. His 

cloak and his saddle-bags comprised all his baggage, and the world 
was before him "where to choose his place of rest." The lane wound 
at length into the main road, and just as he came upon it he fell in 
with a gay party of equestrians. 

Foremost of this cavalcade rode a lady in a dark green habit, 
mounted on a thorough-bred English horse, which she managed with 
so easy a grace that Maltravers halted in involuntary admiration. He 
himself was a consummate horseman, and he had the quick eye of 
sympathy for those who shared the accomplishment. He thought, as 
he gazed, that he had never seen but one woman whose air and mien 
on liorseback were so full of that nameless elegance which skill and 
courage in any art naturally bestow — that woman was Valerie de Ven- 
tadour. Presently, to his great surprise, the lady advanced from her 
companions, neared Maltravers, and said, in a voice which he did 
not at first distinctly recognise — " Is it possible ! — do I see Mr. Mal- 
travers?" 

She paused a moment, and then threw aside her veil, and Ernest 
beheld— Valerie de Ventadour ! By this time a tall, thin gentleman 
had joined the Frenchwoman. 

"aasmadame met with an acquaintance?" said he; "and, if so, 
will she permit me to partake her pleasure ?" 

The interruption seemed a relief to Valerie; — she smiled and 
coloured. 

" Let me introduce you to Mr. Maltravers. Mr. Maltravers, this is 
my host, Lord Doningdale." 

The two gentlemen bowed, the rest of the cavalcade surrounded the 
trio, and Lord Doningdale, with a stately yet frank courtesy, invited 
Maltravers to return with the party to his house, which was about 
four miles distant. As may be supposed, Ernest readily accepted the 
invitation. The cavalcade proceeded, and Maltravers hastened to seek 
an explanation from Valerie. It was soon given. _ Madame de Ven- 
tadour had a younger sister, who had lately married a son of Lord 
Doningdale. The marriage had been solemnized in Paris, and Mon- 
sieur and Madame de Ventadour had been in England a week on a 
visit to the English peer. 

The rencontre was so sudden and unexpected that neither recovered 
suffii-ient self-possession for fluent conversation. The explanation 
si ven. Valeric sunk into a thoughtful silence, and Maltravers rode by 
her side equally taciturn, pondering on the strange chance which, 
after the lapse of years, had thrown them again together. 

Lord Doningdale, who at first lingered with his other visitors, now 
joined them, and Maltravers was struck with his highbred manner, 
and a singular and somewhat elaborate polish in his emphasis and ex- 
pression. They soon entered a noble park, which attested far more 
care and attention than are usually bestowed upon those demesnes, so 



142 J5BNEST HALTJiAVEltS* 

peculiarly English. Young plantations everywhere contrasted the 
venerable groves— new cottages of picturesque design adorned the out ■ 
skirts— and obelisks and columns, copied from the antique, and 
evidently of recent workmanship, gleamed upon them as they neared 
the house— a large pile, in which the fashion of Queen Anne's day had 
been altered into the French roofs and windows of the architecture of 
the Tuileries. " You reside much in the country, I am sure, my lord,'' 
said Maltravers. 

" Yes," replied Lord Doningdale, with a pensive air, " this place is 
greatly endeared to me. Here his Majesty Louis XVIII., when in 
England, honoured me with an annual visit. In compliment to him, 
I sought to model my poor mansion into an humble likeness of his 
own palace, so that lie might as little as possible miss the rights he 
had lost. His own rooms were furnished exactly like those he had 
occupied at the Tuileries. Yes, the place is endeared to me — I think 
of the old times with pride. It is something to have sheltered a 
Bourbon in his misfortunes." 

" It cost milord a vast sum to make these alterations," said Madame 
de Ventadour, glancing archly at Maltravers. 

"Ah, yes," said the old lord; and his face, lately elated, became 
overcast — " nearly three hundred thousand pounds : but what then ? — 
'Les souvenirs, madame, sont sans prix ! ' " 

" Have you visited Paris since the restoration, Lord Doningdale ?" 
asked Maltravers. 

His lordship looked at him sharply, and then turned his eye to 
Madame de Ventadour. 

" Nay," said Valerie, laughing, " I did not dictate the question." 

" Yes," said Lord Doningdale, " I have been at Paris." 

" His Majesty must have been delighted to return your lordship's 
hospitality." 

Lord Doningdale looked a little embarrassed, and made no reply, 
but put his horse into a canter. 

" You have galled our host, said Valerie, smiling. " Louis XVHI. 
and his friends lived here as long as they pleased, and as sumptuously 
as they could ; their visits half ruined the owner, who is the model of a 
gentilhomme and preux chevalier. He went to Paris to witness their 
triumph ; he expected, I fancy, the order of the St. Esprit. Lord Don- 
ingdale has royal blood in his veins. His Majesty asked him once to 
dinner, and, when he took leave, said to him, " We are happy, Lord 
Doningdale, to have thus requited our obligations to your lordship.' 
Lord Doningdale went back in dudgeon, yet he still boasts of his sou- 
venirs, poor man." 

" Princes are not grateful, neither are republics," said Maltravers. 

"Ah! who is grateful," rejoined Valerie, "except a dog and a 
woman?" 

Maltravers found himself ushered into a vast dressing-room, and 
was informed by a Prench valet, that, in the country, Lord Doning- 
dale dined at six — the first bell would ring in a few minutes. While 
the valet was speaking, Lord Dondingdale himself entered the room. 
His lordship had learned, in the mean while, that Maltravers was of 
the great and ancient commoners' house, whose honours were centered 



EENEST MALTBAVEBS. H3 

in his brother ; and. yet more, that he was the Mr. Maltravcrs whose 
writings every one talked of, whether for praise or abuse. Lord Don- 
ingdale had the two characteristics of a highbred gentleman of the 
old school— respect for birth and respect lor talent ; he was, there- 
fore, more than ordinarily courteous to Ernest, and pressed him to 
stay some days with so much cordiality, that Maltravcrs could not 
but assent. His travelling toilet was scanty , but Maltravers thought 
little of dress. 



CHAPTER VUL 

" It is the soul that sees. The outward eyes 
Present the object, but the mind descries ; 
And thence delight, disgust, or cool indifference rise." 

Crabbb. 

When Maltravers entered the enormous saloon, hung with damask, 
and decorated with the ponderous enrichments and furniture of the 
time of Louis XIV. (that most showy and barbarous of all tastes, 
which has nothing in it of the graceful, nothing of the picturesque, 
and which, now-a-days, people who should know better imitate with 
a ludicrous servility), he found sixteen persons assembled. His host 
stepped up from a circle which surrounded him, and formally presented 
his new visitor to the rest. He was struck with the likeness which 
the sister of Valerie bore to Valerie herself j but it was a sobered and 
chastened likeness — less handsome, less impressive. Mrs. George 
Herbert — such was the name she now owned — was a pretty, shrink- 
ing, timid girl, fond of her husband, and mightily awed by her father- 
inJaw. Maltravers sat by her, and drew her into conversation. He 
could not help pitying the poor lady, when he found she was to live 
altogether atDoningdale Park — remote from all the friends and habits 
of her childhood— alone, so far as the affections were concerned, with a 
young husband, who was passionately fond of field-sports, and who, 
from the few words Ernest exchanged with him, seemed to have only 
three ideas — his dogs, his horses, and his wife. Alas ! the last would 
soon be the least in importance. It is a sad position — that of a lively 
yeung Frenchwoman, entombed in an English country-house ! Mar- 
riages with foreigners are seldom fortunate experiments! But 
Ernest's attention was soon diverted from the sister by the entrance of 
Valerie herself, leaning on her husband's arm. Hitherto he had not 
very minutely observed what change time had effected in her — per- 
haps he was half afraid. He now gazed at her with curious interest, 
Valerie was still extremely handsome, but her face had grown sharper, 
her form thinner and more angular ; there was something in her eye 
and lip, discontented, restless, almost querulous: — such is the too 
common expression in the face of those born to love, and condemned 
to be indifferent. The little sister was more to be envied of the two 
— come what may, she loved her husband, such as he was, and her 
heart might- ache, but it was not with a void. 



144 EKNEST NALTKA.VKK8. 

Monsieur deVentadour soon shuffled up to Maltr avers — his noser 
longer than ever. 

" Hein — hein — how d'ye do — how d'ye do ? — charmed to see you — 
saw madame before me — hein— hein— I suspect — I suspect " 

"Mr. Maltravers, will you give Madame deVentadour your arm?" 
said Lord Doningdale, as he stalked on to the dining-room with a 
duchess on his own. 

"And you have left Naples," said Maltravers : " left it for good?" 

" We do not think of returning." 

" It was a charming place— how I loved it ! — how well I remembei 
it ! " Ernest spoke calmly — it was but a general remark. 

Valerie sighed gently. 

During dinner, the conversation between Maltravers and Madame 
de Ventadour was vague and embarrassed. Ernest was no longer in 
love with her— he had outgrown that youthful fancy. She had exer- 
cised influence over him — the new influences that he had created, had 
chased away her image. Such is life. Long absences extinguish all 
the false lights, though not the true ones. The lamps are dead in the 
banquet-room of yesterday ; but a thousand years hence, and the stars 
we look on to-night will burn as brightly. Maltravers was no longer 
in love with Valerie. But Valerie — ah, perhaps hers had been true 
love ! 

Maltravers was surprised when he came to examine the state of 
bis own feelings — he was surprised to find that his pulse did not 
beat quicker at the touch of one whose very glance had once 
thrilled him to the soul — he was surprised, but rejoiced. He was 
no longer anxious to seek but to shun excitement, and he was a better 
and a higher being than he had been on the shores of Naples. 



CHAPTER IX. 

" Whence that low voice, a whisper from the heart, 
That told of days long past?" — Wordsworth. 

Ernest stayed several days at Lord Doningdale's, and every day he 
rode out with Valerie, but it was with a large party ; and every even- 
ing he conversed with her, but the whole world might have overheard 
what they said. In fact, the sympathy that had once existed be- 
tween the young dreamer and the proud, discontented woman, had in 
much passed away. Awakened to vast and grand objects, Maltravers 
was a dreamer no more. Inured to the life of trifles she had once 
loathed, Valerie had settled down into the usages and thoughts of the 
common world — she had no longer the superiority of eartluy wisdom 
over Maltravers, and his romance was sobered in its eloquence, and 
her ear dulled to its tone. Still Ernest felt a deep interest in her, 
and still she seemed to feel a sensitive pride in his career. 

One evening Maltravers had joined a circle in which Madame de 
Ventadour, with more than her usual animation, presided — and to 



JEKNEST MALTK AVERS. 'Ifr 

which, in her pretty, womanly, and thoroughly Trench way,, she was 
lightly laying down the law on a hundred subjects — Philosophy, l'oe- 
try, Sdvres china, and the Balance of Power in Europe. JEniest 
listened to her, delighted, but not enchanted. Yet Valerie was not 
natural that night — she was speaking from forced spirits. 

" Well." said Madame de ventadour, at last, tired, perhaps, of thn 
part she had been playing, and bringing to a sudden close an animated 
description of the then French court — 'well, see now if we ought net 
to be ashamed of ourselves— our talk has positively interrupted the 
music. Did you see Lord Doningdale stop it with a bow to me, 
as much as to say, with his courtly reproof, — ' It shall not disturb 
you, madam ? ' I will no longer be accessary to your crime of bad 
taste!" 

With this the Frenchwoman rose, and gliding through the circle, 
retired to the further end of the room. Ernest followed her with his 
eyes. Suddenly she beckoned to him, and he approached and seated 
himself by her side. 

" Mr. Maltravers," said Valerie, then, with great sweetness in her 
voice, — "I have not yet expressed to yon the delight I have felt from 
your genius. In absence you have suffered me to converse with you — 
your books have been to me dear friends ; as we shall soon part again, 
let me now tell you of this, frankly and without compliment." 

This paved the way to a conversation that approached more on the 
precincts of the past than any they had yet Known. But Ernest 
was guarded, and Valerie watched his words and looks with an 
interest she could not conceal — an interest that partook of disap- 
pointment. 

" It is an excitement," said Valerie, " to climb a mountain, though 
:'t fatigue ; and though the clouds may even deny ns a prospect from 
its summit, — it is an excitement that gives a very universal pleasure, 
and that seems almost as if it were the result of a common human 
stinct, which makes us desire to rise — to get above the ordinary 
oroughfares and level of life. Some such pleasure you must have in 
tellectual ambition, in which the mind is the upward traveller," 
" It is not the ambition that pleases." replied Maltravers, " it is the 
llowing a path" congenial to our tastes, and made dear to us in a short 
time by habit. The moments in which we look beyond our work, and 
fancy ourselves seated beneath the Everlasting Laurel, are few. It £3 
the work itself, whether of action or literature, that interests and ex- 
cites us. And at length the dryness of toil takes the familiar sweet- 
ness of custom. But in intellectual labour there is another charm — 
we become more intimate with our own nature. The heart and thti 
soul grow friends, as it were, and the affections and aspirations unite. 
Thus, we are never without society— we are never alone ; all that we 
have read, learned, and discovered, is company to us. This is plea- 
sant," added Maltravers, " to those who have no dear connections in 
the world without." 

"And is that your case ? " asked Valerie, with a timid smile. 
" Alas, yes ! and since I conquered one affection, Madame de Ven- 
tadour, I almost think I have outlived the capacity of loving, i 
belie?e tnat when we cultivate very largely the reason or the hnagina- 



146 EKXEST MALTKAVEB.S. 

tion, we blunt, to a, certain extent, our young susceptibilities to (he 
fair impressions of real life. Erom ' idleness,' «*ays the old ilomau 
poet, ' Love feeds his torch.' " 

" You are too young to talk thus." 

" I speak as 1 feci." 

Valerie said no more. 

Shortly afterwards Lord Doningdalc approached them, and pro- 
posed that they should make an excursion the next day to see the ruins 
of an old abbey, some few miles distant. 



CHAPTER X. 

*' If J should meet thee 
After long; years, 
(low shall 1 greet thee?"— Byhon - . 

It was a smaller party than usual the next day, consisting only of 
Lord Doningdale, liis son George Herbert, Valerie, and Ernest. 
They were returning from the ruins, and the sun, now gradually 
approaching the west, threw its slant rays over the gardens and 
houses of a small, picturesque town, or, perhaps, rather village, on 
the high North lload. It is one of the prettiest places in England, 
that town or village, and boasts an excellent old-fashioned inn, with a 
large and quaint pleasure-garden. It was through the long and 
straggling street that our little party slowly rode, when the sky 
became suddenly overcast, and a few large hailstones falling, gave 
notice of an approaching storm. 

" I told jou we should not get safely through the day," said George 
Herbert. " Now we are in for it." 

" George, that is a vulgar expression," said Lord Doningdaie, 
buttoning up his coat. While he spoke, a vivid flash of lightning 
darted across their very path, and the sky grew darker and darker. 

" We may as well rest at the inn," said Maltravers ; " the stonn is 
coming on apace, and Madame de Ventadour " 

"You are right," interrupted Lord Doningdale; and he put his 
jorse into a canter. 

They were soon at the door of the old hotel. Bells rang — degs 
barked — hostlers ran. A plain, dark, travelling post-chariot waa 
before the inn-door ; and, roused perhaps by the uoise below, a lady in 
the " first floor front, No. 2," came to the window. This lady owned 
the travelling-carriage, and was at this time alone in that apartment,. 
As she looked carelessly at the party, her eyes rested on one 
form — she turned pale, uttered a faint cry, and fell senseless on the 
floor. 

Meanwhile, Lord Doningdale and his guests were shown into the 
room next to that tenanted by the lady. Properly speaking, both the 
rooms made one long apartment for balls and county meetings, and 
the division was formed by a thin partition, lemoveable at plcasuie. 



JZONEST MALTBAVSRfl. 14/ 

The hail now came on fast and heavy, the trees groaned, the thunder 
roared ; and in the large, dreary room there was a palpable and 
oppressive sense of coldness and discomfort. Valerie shivered — a fire 
was lighted — and the Frenchwoman drew near to it. 

" You are wet, my dear lady," said Lord Doningdale. " You 
should take off that close habit, and have it dried." 

" Oh, no ; what matters it ? " said Valerie, bitterly, and aimost 
rudely. 

" It matters everything," said Ernest ; "pray be ruled." 

" And do you care for me ? " murmured Valerie. 

" Can you ask that question ? " replied Ernest, in the 3ame tone, 
and with affectionate and friendly warmth. 

Meanwhile, the good old lord had summoned the chambermaid, 
and, with the kindly imperiousness of a father, made Valerie quit the 
room. The three gentlemen, left together, talked of the storm, 
wondered how long it would last, and debated the propriety of send- 
ing to Doningdale for the carriage. While they spoke, tiie hail 
suddenly ceased, though clouds in the distant horizon were bearing 
heavily up to renew the charge. George Herbert, who was the most 
impatient of mortals, especially of rainy weather in a strange place, 
seized the occasion, and insisted on riding to Doningdale, ana sending 
back the carriage, 

" Surely a groom would do as well, George," said the father. 

" My dear father, no ; I should envy the rogue too much. I am 
bored to death here. Marie will be frightened about us. Brown Bess 
will take me back in twenty minutes. I am a hardy fellow, you know. 
Good-bye." 

Away darted the young sportsman, and in two minutes they saw 
him spur gaily from the inn-door. 

" It is very odd that I should have such a son," said Lord Doning- 
dale, musingly — " a son who cannot amuse himself indoors for two 
minutes together. I took great pains with his education, too. Strange 
that people should weary so much of themselves that they cannot 
brave the prospect of a few minute* passed in reflection — that a 
shower and the resources of their own thoughts are evils so galling 
— very strange indeed. But it is a confounded climate this, certainly. 
I wonder when it will clear up." 

Thus muttering, Lord Doningdale walked, or rather marched, to 
and fro the room, with his hands in his coat pockets, and his whip 
sticking perpendicularly out of the right one. Just at this moment 
tie waiter came to announce that his lordship's groom was without, 
and desired much to see him. Lord Doningdale had then the pleasure 
of learning that his favourite grey hackney, which he had ridden, 
winter and sumn.er, for fifteen years, was taken with shivers, and, as 
the groom exprciica it, seemed to have " the collar [cholera ?] in its 
bowels ! " 

Lord I); ..•.!r.' 3 'da!c turned pale, and hurried to the stables without 
saying a word. 

-Muliravers, who, plunged in thought, had not overheard the i<"> 
and brief conference between master and groom, remained alone, 
seated by the fire, his head buried in his- bosom, and his arm? foliii ■. 

l 2 



148 ERNEST HAXTRAVERS. 

Meanwhile, the lady, who occupied the adjoining chamber, had 
recovered slowly from her swoon. She put both hands to her temples, 
as if trying to recollect her thoughts. Hers was a fair, innocent, 
almost childish face ; and now, as a smile shot across it, there was 
something so sweet and touching in the gladness it shea over that 
countenance, that yon could not have seen it without strong aud 
almost painful interest. For it was the gladness of a person who lias 
known sorrow. Suddenly she started_ up, and said — " No — then ! I 
do not dream. He is come back — he is liere— all will be well again ! 
Ha! it is his voice. Oh, bless him, it is his voice ! " She paused, her 
finger on her lip, her face bent down. A low and indistinct sound of 
voices reached her straining ear through the thin door that divided 
her from Maltravers. She listened intently, but she could not over- 
hear the import. Her heart beat violently. " He is not alone ! " she 
murmured, mournfully. "I will wait till the sound ceases, and then 
I will venture in ! " 

And what was the conversation carried on in that chamber ? We 
must return to Ernest, He was sitting in the same thoughtful posture 
when Madame de Ventadour returned. The Frenchwoman coloured 
when she found herself alone with Ernest, and Ernest himself was not 
at his ease. 

" Herbert has gone home to order the carriage, and Lord Doning- 
dale has disappeared, 1 scarce know whither. You do not. I trust, 
feel the worse for the rain ? '' 

"No," said Valerie. 

" Shall you have any commands in London ? " asked Maltravers ; 
" I return to town to-morrow." 

" So soon ! " and Valerie sighed. " Ah ! " she added, after a 
pause, " we shall not meet again for years, perhaps. Monsieur de 

V entadour is to be appointed ambassador to the Court — and 

so — and so . Well, it is no matter. What has become of the 

friendship we once swore to each other ? " 

" It is here," said Maltravers, laying his hand on his heart. " Here, 
at least, lies the half of that friendship which was my charge ; and 
more than friendship, Yalerie de Ventadour — respect — admiration — 
gratitude. At a time of life, when passion and fancy, most strong, 
might have left me an idle and worthless voluptuary, you convinced 
me that the world has virtue, and that woman is too noble to be our 
toy— the idol of to-day, the victim of to-morrow. Your influence, 
Valerie, left me a more thoughtful man — I hope a better one." 

"Oh!" said Madame de Veutadour, strongly affected; "I bless 
you for what you tell me : you cannot know— you cannot guess how 
sweet it is to me. Now I recognise you once more. What— what 
did my resolution cost me ? Now I am repaid 1 " 

Ernest was moved by her emotion, and by his own remembrances ; lie 
took her hand, and pressing it with frank and respectful tenderness-^ 
" I did not think, Valerie," said he, " when I reviewed the past, I did 
not think that you loved me — 1 was not vain enough for that ; but, if 
so, how much is your character raised in my eyes — how provident, 
how wise your virtue ! Happier and better for bothj our present 
feelings, each to each, than Lf we had indulged a brief and guilty 



1511NEST MAXTftAVEKS. 149 

drciun of passion, at war with all that leaves passion without remorse, 
and bliss without alloy. Now ' 

'' Now," interrupted Valerie, quickly, and fixing on him her dark 
eyes — "now you love me no longer! Yet it is better so. Well, I 
will go back to my cold and cheerless state of life, and forget once 
more that Heaven endowed me with a heart ! " 

"Ah, Valerie ! esteemed, revered, still beloved, not indeed with the 
fires of old, but with a deep, undying, and holy tenderness, speak not 
thus to me. Let me not believe you unhappy ; let me think that, 
wise, sagacious, brilliant as you are, you have employ id your gifts to 
reconcile yourself to a common lot. Still let mc look up to you ■when 
1 would despise the circles in which you live, and say, — 'On that 
pedestal an altar is yet placed, to which the heart may bring the 
offerings of the soul.' " 

"It is in vain — in vain that 1 struggle," said Valerie, half-choked 
with emotion, and clasping her hands passionately. " Ernest, I love 
you still — I am wretched to think you foye me no more ; I would give 
you nothing — yet I exact all ; my youth is going — my beauty dimmed 
— my very intellect is dulled by the life I lead ; and yet I ask from 
you that which your young heart once felt for me. Despise me, 
Maltravers, I am not what I seemed — I am a hypocrite — despise me." 

" No," said Ernest, again possessing himself of her hand, and falling 
on his knee by her side. " No, never to be forgotten, ever to be 
honoured Valerie, heai me." As he spoke, he kissed the hand he 
held ; with the other, Valerie covered her face and wept bitterly, but 
in silence. Ernest paused till the burst of her feelings had subsided, 
her hand still in his — still warmed by his kisses — kisses as pure as 
cavalier ever impressed on the hand of his queen. 

At this time, the door communicating with the next room gently 
opened. A fair form — a form fairer and younger than that of Valerie 
de Ventadour, entered the apartment ; the silence had deceived her — 
she believed that Maltravers was alone. She had entered with her 
heart upon her lips ; love, sanguine, hopeful love, in every vein, in 
even' thought— she had entered, dreaming that across that threshold 
life would dawn upon her afresh — that all would be once more as it 
had been, when the common air was rapture. Thus she entered ; 
and now she stood spell-bound, terror-stricken, pale as death — life 
turned to stone — youth — hope — bliss were for ever over to her! 
Ernest kneeling to another was all she saw ! — For this had she been 
faithful and true, amidst storm and desolation ; for this had she hoped 
— dreamed — lived. They did not note her ; she was unseen — unheard 
And Ernest, who would have gone barefoot to the end of the earth fco 
find her. was in the very room with her, and knew it not ! 

" Call me again beloved ! " said Valerie, very softly. 

" Beloved Valerie, hear me." 

These words were enough for the listener ; she turned noiselessly 
away : humble as that heart was, it was proud. The door closed on 
her — she had obtained the wish of her whole being — Heaven had 
heard her prayer — she had once more seen the lover of her youth ; 
and thenceforth all was night and darkness to her. What matter 
what became of her ? One moment, what an effect it produces upon 



*5ft flllNEST MALI RAVERS. 

years ! — one moment '.—virtue, crime, glory, shame, woe, rapture, 
rest upon moments ! Death itself is but a moment, yet Eternity is 
its successor ! 

" Hear me ! " continued Ernest, unconscious of what had passed— 
" hear me ; let us be what human nature and worldly forms seldom 
allow those of opposite sexes to be — friends to each other, and to 
virtue also — friends through time and absence — friends through all 
the vicissitudes of life — friends on whose affection shame and remorse 
never cast a shade — friends who are to meet hereafter ! Oh ! there is 
no attachment so true, no tie so holy, as that which is founded on 
the old chivalry of loyalty and honour ; and which is what love would 
be, if the heart and the soul were unadulterated by clay." 

There was in Ernest's countenance an expression so noble, in his 
voice a tone so thrilling, that Valerie was brought back at once to 
the nature which a momentary weakness had subdued. _ She looked 
at him with n : i admiring and grateful gaze, and then said, in a calm 
but low voice, " Ernest, I understand you ; yes, your friendship is 
dearer to me than love." 

At this time they heard the voice of Lord Poningdale on the stairs 
Valerie turned away. Maltravers, as he rose, extended his hand { 
she pressed it warmly, and the spell was broken, the temptation con- 
quered, the ordeal passed. While Lord Doniugdale entered the room, 
the carriage, with Herbert in it, drove to the door. In a few minutes 
the little party were within the vehicle. As they drove away, the 
hostlers were harnessing the horses to the dark green travelling 
carriage. Erom the window, a sad and straining eye gazed upon the 
gayer equipage of the peer — that eye which Maltravers would have 
given his whole fortune to meet again. But he did not look up ; and 
Alice Darvil turned away, and her fate was fixed ! 



CHAPTER XI. 

" Strange fits of passion I have known. 

And I will dare to tell."— WoRDSwonra. 
'• * * * * The food of hope 

Is meditated action." — Wordsworth. 

Maltkavees left Doniugdale the next day. He had no further 
conversation with Valerie ; but when he took leave of her, she placed 
in his hand a letter, which he read as he rode slowly through the 
beech avenues of the park. Translated, it ran thus : — 

" Others would despise me for the weakness I showed— but you 
will not ! It is the sole weakness of a life. None can know what I 
have passed through — what hours of dejection and gloom — I, whom so 
many envy ! Better to have been a peasant girl, with love, than a 
gueen whose life is but a dull mechanism. You, Maltravers, I never 
forgot in absence; and your image ms^" vet more wearisome and 



ERNEST MALTKAVKR8- 151 

trite the things around me. Years passed, and your name was sud- 
denly in men's lips. I heard of you wherever I went— I could not 
shut you from me. Your fame was as if you were conversing by my 
side. We met at last, suddenly and unexpectedly. I saw that you 
loved me no more, and that thought conquered all my resolves: 
anguish subdues the nerves of the mind as sickness those of the body. 
And thus I forgot, and humbled, and might have undone myself. 
Juster and better thoughts arc once more awakened within mc, and 
when we meet again I shall be worthy of your respect. I see how 
dangerous are that luxury of thought, that sin of discontent, which I 
indulged. I go back to Kfe resolved to vanquish all that can interfere 
with its claims and duties. Heaven guide and preserve you, Ernest 
Think of me as one whom you will not blush to have loved — whom 
you will not blush hereafter to present to your wife. With so much 
that is soft, as well as great within you, you were not formed like me 
— to be alone. 

" Fahewell I" 

Maltravers read, and re-read this letter; and when he reached his 
home, he placed it carefully amongst the things he most valued. A 
lock of Alice's hair lay beside it — he did not think that either was 
dishonoured by the contact. 

With an effort, he turned himself once more to those stern, yet high 
connections which literature makes with real life. Perhaps there was 
a certain restlessness in his heart which induced him ever to occupy 
his mind. That was one of the busiest years of his life — the one in 
which he did most to sharpen jealousy and confirm fame. 



CHATTER XH. 

•• In effect he entered my apartment." — Gil Slat. 

" I am surprised, said he, at the caprice of fortune, who sometimes delights in 
loading an execrable author with favours, whilst she leaves good writers to perish 
for want." — Oil Bias. 

It was just twelve months after his last interview with Valerie, and 
Madame de Ventadour had long since quitted England, when one 
morning, as Maltravers sat alone in his study, Castruccio Cesarini 
was announced. 

" Ah, my dear Castruccio, how are you ?" cried Maltravers, eagerly, 
as the opening door presented the form of the Italian. 

" Sir," said Castruccio, with great stiffness, and speaking in Erench, 
which was his wont when he meant to be distant — sir, I do not come 
to renew our former acquaintance — you arc a great man [here a bitter 
sneer], I an obscure one [here Castruccio drew himself up] — I only 
come to discharge a debt to you which I find I have incurred." 

" What tone is this, Castruccio ; and what debt do you speak of P" 

" 0'i my arrival in town yesterday " said the poet solemnly, " ^ 



152 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

went to the man whom you deputed some years since to publish my 
little volume, to demand an account of its success ; and I found that 
it had cost one hundred and twenty pounds, deducting the sale of 
forty-nine copies which had been sold. Your books sell some thou- 
sands, I am told. It is well contrived — mine fell still-born, no pains 
were taken with it — no matter — [a wave of the hand]. You dis- 
charged this debt, I repay you : there is a check for the money. Sir, 
I have done! I wish you a good day, and health to enjoy your 
reputation." 

" Why, Cesarini, this is folly." 

" Sir—'; 

" Yes, it is folly; for there is no folly equal to that of throwing 
away friendship in a world where frienship is so rare. You insinuate 
that I am to blame for any neglect which your work experienced. 
Your publisher cau tell you that I was more anxious about your book 
than I have ever been about my own." 

" And the proof is, that forty-nine copies were sold !" 

"Sit down, Castruccio; sit down and listen to reason;" and 
Maltravers proceeded to explain, and soothe, and console. He 
reminded the poor poet that his verses were written in a foreign 
tongue — that even English poets of great feme enjoyed but a limited 
sale for their works — that it was impossible to make the avaricious 
public purchase what the stupid public would not take an interest in 
— in short, he used all those arguments which naturally suggested 
themselves as best calculated to convince and soften Castruccio : and 
he did this with so much evident sympathy and kindness, that at 
length the Italian could no longer justify his own resentment. A 
reconciliation took place, sincere on the part of Maltravers, hollow on 
the part of Cesarini ; for the disappointed author could not forgive 
the successful one. 

" And how long shall you stay in London ? " 

" Some months." 

" Send for your luggage, and be my guest." 

" No ; 1 have taken lodgings that suit me. I am formed for 
solitude." 

" While you stay here, you will, however, go into the world." 

" Yes, I have some letters of introduction, and I hear that the 
English can honour merit, even in an Italian." 

" You hear the truth, and it will amuse you, at least, to see our 
eminent men. They will receive you most hospitably. Let me assist 
you as a cicerone." 

" Oh, your valuable time ! " 

" Is at your disposal; but where are you going?" 

" It is Sunday, and I have had my curiosity excited to hear a cele- 
brated preacher, Mr. , who, they tell me, is now more talked of 

than any author in London." 

" They tell you truly — I will go with you— I myself have not yet 
heard him, but proposed to do so this very day." 

" Are you not jealous of a man so much spoken of ? :3 

" Jealous ! — why, ' never set up for a popular preacher ! — ce n'eti 
pus mon metier." 



ERNEST MAI/TBAVEKS. 153 

" If I were a successful author, I should be jealous if the dancing- 
dogs were talked of." 

' No, my dear Cesarini, 1 am sure you would not. You are a little 
irritated at present by natural disappointment ; but the man who 
has as much success as he deserves, is never morbidly jealous, 
even of a rival in Ms own line: want of success sours us; but a 
little sunshine smiles away the vapours. Come, we have no time 
to lose." 

Maltravers took his hat, and the two young men bent their way to 

Chapel. Cesarini still retained the singular fashion of his 

dress, though it was now made of handsomer materials, and worn with 
more coxcombry and pretension. He had much improved in person 
—had been admired in Paris, and told that he looked like a man of 
genius — and with his black ringlets flowing over his shoulders, his 
long moustache, his broad Spanish-shaped hat, and eccentric garb, he 
certainly did not look like other people. He smiled with contempt at 
the plain dress of his companion. I see," said he, "that you follow 
the fashion, and look as if you passed your life with elegans instead of 
students. I wonder you condescend to such trifles as fashionably- 
shaped hats and coats." 

' It would be worse trifling to set up for originality in hats and 
coats, at least in sober England. I was born a gentleman, and I dress 
my outward frame like others of my order. Because I am a writer, 
why should I affect to be different from other men ? " 

" I see that you are not above the weakness of your countryman, 
Congreve," said Cesarini, " who deemed it finer to be a gentleman 
than an author." 

" I always thought that anecdote misconstrued. Congreve had a 
proper and manly pride, to my judgment, when he expressed a dislike 
to be visited merely as a raree-show." 

" But is it policy to let the world see that an author is like other 
people? Would he not create a deeper personal interest if he 
showed that even in person alone he was unlike the herd? He 
ought to be seen seldom — not to stale his presence — and to resort 
to the arts that belong to the royalty of intellect as well as the 
royalty of birth." 

" I dare say an author, by a little charlatanism of that nature, 
might be more talked of — might be more adored in the boarding- 
schools, and make a better picture in the exhibition. But I think, if 
his mind be manly, he would lose in self-respect at every quackery of 
the sort. And my philosophy is, that to respect oneself is worth all 
the fame in the world." 

Cesarini sneered and shrugged his shoulders ; it was quite evident 
that the two authors had no sympathy with each other. 

They arrived at last at the chapel, and with some difficulty pro- 
cured seats. 

Presently the service began. The preacher was a man of unques- 
tionable talent and fervid eloquence ; but his theatrical arts, his 
affected dress, his artificial tones and gestures, and, above all, the 
fanatical mummeries which he introduced into the House of God, dis- 
gusted Maltravers, while they charmed, entranced, and awed Cesarini. 



154 BllXEST JiALTItAVERS. 

The one saw a mountebank and impostor — tlie other recognised s 
profound artist and an inspired prophet. 

But while the discourse was drawing towards a close, while the, 
preacher was in one of his most eloquent bursts — the ohs ! and ahs :: 
of which were the grand prelude to the pathetic peroration — the dim 
outline of a female form, in the distance, riveted the eyes and ab- 
sorbed the thoughts of Maltravers. The chapel was darkened, though 
it was broad daylight; and the face of the person that attracted 
Ernest's attention was concealed by her head-dress and veil. But that 
bend of the neck, so simply graceful, so humbly modest, recalled to 
his heart but one imasje. livery one has, perhaps, observed that there 
is a physiognomy (if the bull may be pardoned) 01 form as well as face, 
which it rarely happens that two persons possess in common. And 
this, with most, is peculiarly marked in the turn of the head, the out- 
line of the shoulders, and the ineffable something that characterises 
the postures of each individual in repose. The more intently he gazed, 
the more firmly Ernest was persuaded that he saw before him the 
long-lost, the never-to-be-forgotten mistress of his boyish days, and 
his first-love. On one side of the lady in question sat an elderly gen- 
tleman, whose eyes were fixed upon the preacher : on the other, a 
beautiful little girl, with long fair ringlets, and that cast of features 
which from its exquisite delicacy and expressive mildness, painters 
and poets call the "angelic." These persons appeared to belong to 
the same party. _ Maltravers literally trembled, so great were his im- 
patience and agitation. Yet still, the dress of the supposed likeness 
of Alice, the appearance of her companions, were so evidently above 
the ordinary rank, that Ernest scarcely ventured to yield to the sug- 
gestions of his own heart. Was it possible that the daughter of Luke 
DarviL thrown upon the wide world, could have risen so far beyond 
her circumstances and station ? At length the moment came when he 
might resolve his doubts — the discourse was concluded— the extem- 
poraneous prayer was at an end — the congregation broke up, and 
Maltravers pushed his waj r , as well as he could, through the dense and 
serried crowd. But every moment some vexatious obstruction, in the 
shape of a fat gentleman or three close-wedged ladies, intercepted his 
progress. He lost sightof the party in question amidst the profusion 
of tall bonnets and waving plumes. He arrived at last, breathless 
and pale as death (so great was the struggle within him), at the 
door of the chapel. He arrived in time to see a plain carriage with 
servants in grey undress liveries, driving from the porch — and caught 
a glimpse within the vehicle, of the golden ringlets of a child. He 
dartecf forward, he threw himself almost before the horses. The coach- 
man drew in, and with an angry exclamation, very much like an oath, 
whipped his horses aside and went off. But that momentary pause 
sufficed. — " It is she — it is ! heaven, it is Alice ! " murmured Mal- 
travers. The whole place reeled before his eyes, and he clung, over- 
powered and unconscious, to a neighbouring lamp-post for support. 
But he recovered himself with an agonising effort, as the thought 
struck upon his heart, that he was about to lose sight of her again for 
evei. And he rushed forward, like one frantic, in pursuit of the car- 
nage. But there was a vast crowd of other carriages, besides stream 



ERNEST MALTKAVERS. 155 

upon stream of foot-passengers, — for the great and the gay resorted 
to that place of worship, as a fashionable excitement in a didl day. 
And after a weary and a dangerous chase, in which he had been 
nearly run over three times, Maltravers halted at last, exhausted 
and m despair. Every succeeding Sunday, for months, he went to 
the same chapel, but in vain; in vain, too, he resorted to every 
public haunt of dissipation and amusement. Alice Darvil he beheld 
no more ! 



CHAPTER Xin. 

" Tell me, sir, 
Have you cast up your state, rated your land, 
And find it able to endure the charge ? " 

The Noble Gentleman. 

By degrees, as Maltravers sobered down from the first shock of 
that unexpected meeting, and from the prolonged disappointment that 
followed it, he became sensible of a strange kind ol happiness or 
contentment. Alice was not in poverty, she was not eating the 
unhallowed bread of vice, or earning the bitter wages of laborious 
penury. He saw her in reputable, nay, opulent circumstances. A 
dark nightmare, that had ol'ten ? amidst the pleasures of youth, or the 
triumphs of literature, weighed upon his breast, was removed. He 
breathed more freely — he could sleep in peace. His conscience 
could no longer say to him, " She who slept upon thy bosom is a 
wanderer upon the face of the earth — exposed to every temptation, 

Eerishing perhaps for want." That single sight of Alice had been 
ke the apparition of the injured Dead conjured up at Heraclea — 
whose sight could pacify the aggressor and exorcise the spectres of 
remorse. He was reconciled with himself, and walked on to the 
Euture with a bolder step and a statelier crest. Was she married to 
that staid and sober-looking personage whom he had beheld with her? 
was that child the offspring of their union ? He almost hoped so — 
it was better to lose than to destroy her. Poor Alice ! could she 
have dreamed, when she sat at his feet gazing up into his eyes, that a 
time would come when Maltravers would thank Heaven for the belief 
that she was happy with another ? 

Ernest Maltravers now felt a new man : the relief of conscience 
operated on the efforts of his genius. A more buoyant and elastic 
spirit entered into them — they seemed to breathe as with a second 
youth. 

Meanwhile, Cesarini threw himself into the fashionable world, and 
to his own surprise was feted and caressed. In fact, Castruccio was 
exactly the sort of person to be made a lion of. The letters of introduc- 
tion that he had brought from Paris were addressed to those great per- 
sonages in England, between whom and personages equally great in 
France, politics makes a bridge of connection. Cesarini appeared to 
t/iern as an accomplished young max, brother-in-law to a distinguished 



It.'O ERNEST HALTKAVEBS. 

member of the French Chamber. Maltravers, on the other hand, 
introduced him to the literary dilettanti, who admire all authors that 
are not rivals. The singular costume of Cesarini, which would have 
revolted persons in an Englishman, enchanted them in an Italian. He 
looked, they said, like a poet. Ladies like to have verses written to 
tnem, — and Cesarini, who talked very little, made up for it by scrib- 
bling eternally. The young man's head soon grew filled with com- 
parisons between himself in London and Petrarch at Avignon. As he 
liad always thought that fame was in the gift of lords and ladies, and 
uad no idea of the multitude, he fancied himself already famous, And, 
since one of his strongest feelings was his jealousy of Maltravers, he 
was delighted at being told he was a much more interesting creature 
than that haughty personage, who wore his neckcloth like other 
people, and had not even those indispensable attributes of genius- 
black curls and a sneer. Fine society, which, as Madame de Stael 
well says, depraves the frivolous mind and braces the strong one, 
completed the ruin of all that was manly in Cesarini's intellect. _ He 
soon learned to limit his desire of effect or distinction to gilded 
saloons; and his vanity contented itself upon the scraps and morsels 
from which the Hon heart of true ambition turns in disdain. But 
this was not all. Cesarini was envious of the greater affluence of 
Maltravers. His own fortune was in a small capital of eight or nine 
thousand pounds ; but, thrown in the midst of the wealthiest society 
in Europe, he could not bear to sacrifice a single claim upon its 
esteem. He began to talk of the satiety of wealth, and young ladies 
listened to him with remarkable interest when he did so — he obtained 
the reputation of riches — he was too vain not to be charmed with it. 
He endeavoured to maintain the claim by adopting the extravagant 
excesses of the Jay. He bought horses — he gave awsy jewels — he 
made love to a marchioness of forty-two, who was very land to him 
and very fond of ecarte—he gambled — he was in the high-road to 
destruction. 



BOOK VI. 



CHAPTER L 

L'adresse et l'artifice ont passS dans mon cceur, 

Qu'on a sous cet habit et d'esprit et de ruse." * — Reonard. 

It was a fine morning in July, when a gentleman who had arrived 
in town the night before — after an absence from England of several 
years — walked slowly and musingly up that superb thoroughfare which 
connects the Regent's Park with St. James's. 

He was a man, who, with great powers of mind, had wasted his 
youth in a wandering vagabond kind of life, but who had worn 
away the love of pleasure, and began to awaken to a sense of 
ambition. 

" It is astonishing how this city is improved," said he to himself. 
"Everything gets on in this world with a little energy and bustle — 
and everybody as well as everything. My old cronies, fellows not 
half so clever as I am, are all doing well. There's Tom Stevens, my 
very fag at Eton — snivelling little dog he was too ! — just made under- 
secretary of state. Pearson, whose longs and shorts I always wrote, 
is now head-master to the human longs and shorts of a public school 
— editing Greek plays, and booked for a bishopric. Collier, I see, by 
the papers, is leading his circuit — and Ernest Maltravers (but he had 
some talent !) has made a name in the world. Here am I, worth 
them all put together, who have done nothing but spend half my 
little fortune in spite of all my economy. Egad, this must have an 
end. I must look to the main chance ; and yet, just when I want his 
help the most, my worthy uncle thinks fit to marry again. Humph — 
I'm too good for this world." 

While thus musing, the soliloquist came in direct personal contact 
Tvith a tall gentleman, who carried his head very high iu the air, and 
did not appear to see that he had nearly thrown our abstracted philo- 
sopher on his legs. 

" Zounds, sir, what do you mean ? " cried the latter. 

" I beg your par " began the other, meekly, when his arm was 

seized, ana the injured man exclaimed, " Bless me, sir, is it indeed 
you. whom I see?" 

"Ha!— Lumley?" 

* Subtility and craft have ta*en possession oJ my heart, but under this habit out 
tiibits both shrcrdness and wit 



15S ERXEST MALTRaVfiKS. 

' " The same ; and how fares it, my dear uncle ? I did not Know 
vow were in London. I only arrived last night. How well you are 
looking!" 

" Why, yes, Heaven be praised, I am pretty well." 

" And happy hi your new ties ? You must present me to Mrs. 
Templeton." . , _, ,. . 

" Lhem," said Mr. Templeton, clearing his throat, and with a slight 
but embarrassed smile, " I never thought I should marry again." 

"L'homme propose et Bieit dispose," observed Lumley Ferrers ; for 
it was he. 

"Gently, my dear nephew," replied Mr. Templeton, gravely ; "those 
phrases are somewhat sacrilegious ; I am an old-fashioned person, you 
know." 

" Ten thousand apologies." 

" One apology will suffice ; these hyperboles of phrases are almost 
sinful." 

"Confounded old prig!" thought Ferrers; but he bowed sancti- 
moniously. 

" My dear uncle, I have been a wild fellow in my day : but with, 
years comes reflection ; and under your guidance, if I may hope for it, 
I trust to grow a wiser and a better man." 

" It is well, Lumley," returned the uncle ; " and I am very glad to 
see you returned to your own country. Will you dine with me to- 
morrow ? I am living near Fulhain. You had better bring your carpet- 
bag, and stay with me some days; you will be heartily welcome, 
especially if you can shift without a foreign servant. I have a great 
compassion for papists, but " 

" Oh, my dear uncle, do not fear, I am not rich enough to have a 
foreign servant, and have not travelled over three quarters of the 
globe without learning that it is possible, to dispense with a valet." 

"As to being rich enough," observed Mr. Templeton, with a cal- 
culating air, "seven hundred and ninety-five pounds ten shillings 
a year will allow a man to keep two servants, if he pleases ; but I am 
glad to find you economical at all events. We meet to-morrow, then, 
at six o'clock." 

" Au revoir—I mean, God bless you." 

" Tiresome old gentleman that," muttered Ferrers, " and not so 
cordial as formerly ; perhaps his wife is enceinte, and he is going to 
dome the injustice of having another heir. I must look to this; 
for without riches, I had better go back and live au cinquieme at 
Paris." 

With this conclusion, Lumley quickened his pace, and soon arrived 
in Scamore Place. In a few moments more he was in the library well 
stored with books, and decorated with marble busts and images from 
the studios of Canova and Thorwaldsen. 

" My master, sir, will be down immediately," said the servant who 
admitted him ; and Ferrers threw himself on a sofa, and contemplated 
the apartment with an air half envious and half cynical. 

Presently the door opened, and "My dear Ferrers!" "Well, man 
eher, how are you ?" were the salutations hastily exchanged. 

After the first sentences of inquiry, gratulation, and welcome, had 



EKNEST MALTRAVERS. 159 

cleared the way for more general conversation — " Well, Maltravers," 
said Ferrers, " so here we are together again, and after a lapse of so 
many years ! both older, certainly ; and you, I suppose, wiser. At all 
events, people think you so; and that's all that's important in the 
question. Why, ni;m, you arc looking as young as ever, only a little paler 
nd thinner: but look at me — I am not very much past thirty, and I 
m almost an old man ; bald at the temples, crows' feet, too, ch ! Idle- 
ess ages one damnably." 

" Pooh, Lumley, I never saw you look better. And are you reaJly 
come to settle in England ? " 

" Yes, if I can afford it. But at my age, and after having seen so 
much, the life of an idle, obscure yarqon, does not content me. _ I 
feel that the world's opinion, which I used to despise, is growing 
necessary to me. I want to be something. What can Ibe ? _ Don't 
look alarmed, I won't rival you. I dare say literary reputation is a 
fine thing, but I desire some distinction more substantial and 
worldlv. You know your own country ; give me a map of the roads 
to Power." 

" To Power ! Oh, nothing but law, politics, and riches." 

" For law I am to old ; politics, perhaps, might suit me ; but riches, 
aay dear Ernest — ah, how I long for a good account with my 
banker!" 

" Well patience and hope. Are you not a rich uncle's heir ?" 

" I don't know," said Ferrers, very dolorously ; " the old gentleman 
has married again, and may have a family." 

" Married !— to whom ? " 

" A widow, I hear ; I know nothing more, except that she has a 
child already. So you see she has got into a cursed way of having 
children. And, perhaps, by the time I'm forty, I shall see a wholes 
covey of cherubs flying away with the great Templeton property !" 

" Ha, ha ! your despair sharpens your wit, Lumley ; but why not 
take a leaf out of your uncle's hook, and marry yourself?" 

" So I will when I can find an heiress. If that is what you meant 
to say — it is a more sensible suggestion than any I could have sup- 
posed to come from a man who writes books, especially poetry ; and 
your advice is not to be despised. For rich I will be ; and as the 
fathers (1 don't mean of the Church, but in Horace) told the risin;? 
generation, the first thing is to resolve to be rich, it is only the second 
thing to consider how." 

" Meanwhile, Ferrers, you will be my guest." 
. "I'll dine with you to-day; but to-morrow I am off to Fulham, to 
be introduced to my aunt. Can't you fancy her ? — grey gros de Naples 
gown ; gold chain with an eyeglass ; rather fat ; two pugs and s 
parrot ! * Start not, this is fancy's sketch !' I have not yet seen the 
respectable relative with my physical optics. What shall we have for 
dinner ? Let me choose, you were always a bad caterer." 

As Ferrers thus rattled on, Maltravers felt himself growing younger; 
old times and old adventures crowded fast upon him ; and the two 
rriends spent a most agreeable day together. It was only the next 
morning that Maltravers, in thinking over the various conversations 
that had passed between them, was forced reluctantly to acknoAvledge 



160 EBNEST MA1TBAVEES. 

that the inert selfishness of Lumley Ferrers seemed now to havo 
nardcned into a resolute and systematic want of principle, which 
might, perhaps, make him a dangerous and designing man, if urged 
by circumstances into action. 



CHAPTER II. 

" Dauph. Sir, I must speak to you. I have been long your despised kinsman. 
" Morose. O, what thou wilt, nephew." — Epicene. 

" Her silence is dowry eno'— exceedingly soft spoken ; thrifty of her speech, that 
spends tut six words a day." — Ibid. 

The coach dropped Mr. Ferrers at the gate of a villa about three 
miles from town. The lodge-keeper charged himself with the carpet- 
bag, and Ferrers strolled, with his hands behind him (it was his 
favourite mode of disposing of them), through the beautiful and 
elaborate pleasure-grounds. 

"A very nice, snug, little box (jointure-house, I suppose) ! I would 
not grudge that, I'm. sure, if I had but the rest. But here, I suspect, 
comes madam's first specimen of the art of having a family." 'this, 
last thought was extracted from Mr. Ferrers' contemplative brain by 
a lovely little girl, who came running up to him, fearless and spoilt 
as she was ; and, after indulging a tolerable stare, exclaimed, " Are 
you come to see papa, sir ?" 

"Papa! — the deuce!" thought Lumley; "and who is papa, my 
dear?" 

"Why, mamma's husband. He isnot my papa by rights." 

"' Certainly not, my love ; not by rights — I comprehend." 

"Eh!" 

"Yes, I am going to your papa by wrongs — Mr. Templeton." 

"Oh, this way, then." 

" You are very fond of Mr. Templeton, my little angel." 

" To be sure I am. You have not seen the rocking-horse he is 
going to give me." 

" Not yet, sweet child ! And_ how is mamma?" 
Oh, poor, dear mamma," said the child, with a sudden changb of 
voice, and tears in her eyes. "Ah, she is not well !" 

" In the family way, to a dead certainty ! " muttered Ferrers, with 
a groan ; " but here is my uncle. Horrid name ! Uncles were always 
wicked fellows. Richard the Third, and the man who did something 
or other to the babes in the wood, were a joke to my hard-hearted old 
.relation, who has robbed me with a widow! The 'lustful, liquorish 
old- My dear sir, I'm so glad to see you !" 

Mr. Templeton, who was a man very cold in his manners, and 
always either looked over people's heads or down upon the ground, 
just touched his nephew's outstretched hand, and telling him he was 
welcome, observed that it was a very fine afternoon. 

""Very, indeed : sweet place this ; «ra see, by the way that I hare 



KllNEST MALTHAVERS. 161 

alreadv made acquaintance with my fair cousin-in-law. She is very 
prcttv'." 

" 1 really tliink she is," said Mr. Templeton, with some warmth, 
and seizing fondly at the child, who was now throwing buttercups up 
in the air, and trying to catch them.— Mr. Ferrers wished in his heart 
that they had been brick-bats ! 
" Is she like her mother?" asked the nephew, 
" Like whom, sir ?" 
" Her mother— Mrs. Templeton." 

" No, not very ; there is an air, perhaps, but the likeness is not re- 
markably strong. Would you not like to go to your room beford 
dinner?" 

" Thank you. Can I not first be presented to Mrs. Tern " 

" She is at her devotions, Mr. Lumley," interrupted Mr. Templeton, 
grimly. 

" The she-hypocrite ! " thought Ferrers. " Oh, I am delighted that' 
your pious heart has found so congenial a helpmate I" 

" It is a great blessing, and I am grateful for it. This is the way to 
the house." 

Lumley, now formally installed in a grave bedroom, with dimity 
curtains, and dark brown-paper with light-brown stars on it, threw 
himself into a large chair, and yawned and stretched with as much 
fervour as if he could have yawned and stretched himself into hisr 
uncle's property. He then slowly exchanged Ms morning dress for a 
quiet suit of black, and thanked his stars that, amidst allhis sins, he 
had never been a dandy, and had never rejoiced in a fine waistcoat — a 
criminal possession that he well knew would have entirely hardened 
his uncle's conscience against him. He tarried m his room till the" 
second bell summoned him to descend ; and then, entering the draw- 
ing-room, which liad a cold look even in July, found his uncle standing. 
by the mantel-piece, and a young, slight, handsome woman, half-buriett 
in a huge but not comfortable fauteuil. 

" Your aunt, Mrs. Templeton ; madam, my nephew, Mr. Lumley 
Ferrers," said Templeton, with a wave of the hand. "John, — dinner!" 
" I hope I am not late ! " 

"No," said Templeton, gently, for he had always liked his nephew, 
and begaH now to thaw towards him a little on seeing that Lumley 
put a good face upon the new state of affairs. 

" No, my dear boy — no ; but I think order and punctuality cardinal 
virtues in a well-regulated family." 

" Dinner, sir," said the butler, opening the folding-doors at the end 
of the room. 

"Permit me," said Lumley, offering his arm to the aunt. "What 
a lovely place this is ! " 

Mrs.' Templeton said something in reply, but what it was, Ferrers- 
could not discover, so low and choked was the voice. 

" Shy " thought he : " odd for a widow ! but that's the way those 
husbana-buriers take us in ! " 

Plain as was the general furniture of the apartment, the natural 
ostentation of Mr. Templeton broke out in the massive value of the 
plate, and the number of the attendants. He was a rich man, and he 

M. 



162 FRNEST MALTRAVEKii. 

was proud of Ms riches -. lie knew it was respectable to be rich, and 
he thought it was moral to be respectable. As for the dinner, Lumley 
knew enough of his uncle's tastes to be prepared for viands and wines 
that even he (fastidious gourmand as he was) did not de?pise. 

_ Between the intervals of eating, Mr. Ferrers endeavoured to draw 
his aunt into conversation, but he found all his ingenuity fail him. 
There was, in the features of Mrs. Templeton, an expression of deep 
but calm melancholy, that would have saddened most persons to look 
upon, especially in one so young nd lovely. It was evidently some- 
thing beyond shyness or reserve that made her so silent and subdued, 
and even in her silence there was so much natural sweetness, that 
Ferrers could not ascribe her manner to haughtiness, or the desire to 
repel. He was rather puzzled; "for though," thought he, sensibly 
enough, " my uncle is not a youth, he is a very rich fellow ; and how 
any widow, who is married again co a rich old fellow, can be melan- 
choly, passes my understanding !" 

Templeton, as if to draw atten on from his wife's taciturnity, talked 
more than usual. He entered largely into politics, and regretted that 
in tones so critical he was not in parliament. 

"Did I possess your youth and your health, Lumley, I would not 
neglect my country — Popery is abroad." 

" I myself should like very much to be in parliament," said Lumley, 
boldly. 

" I dare say you would," returned the uncle, drily. " Parliament 
is very expensive — only fit for those who have a large stake in the 
country. Champagne to Mr. Perrers." 

Lumley bit his lip and spoke ; ttle during the rest of the dinner. 
Mr. Templeton, however, waxed gracious by the time the dessert was 
on the table ; and began cutting up a pine-apple, with many assurances 
to Lumley that gardens were nothing without pineries. " Whenever 
you settle hi the country, nephew, be sure you have a pinery." 

" Oh, yes," said Lumley, almost bitterly, " and a pack of hounds, 
and a French cook ; thev will all suit my fortune very well." 

"You are more thoughtful on pecuniary matters than you used to 
be," said the uncle. 

" Sir," replied Perrers, solemnly, "in a very short time I shall be 
what is called a middle-aged man." 

"Humph!" said the host. 

There was another silence. Lumley was a man, as we have said, 
or iniplied before, of great knowledge of human nature, at least the 
ordinary sort of it, and he now revolved in his mind the various 
courses it might be wise to pursue towards his rich relation. He saw 
that, in delicate fencing, his uncle had over him the same advantage 
that a tall man has over a short one with the physical sword-play ;— 
by holding Ms weapon M a proper position, he Kept the other at arm's 
length. There was a grand reserve and digmty about the man who 
had somethmg to give away, of wMch Perrers, however actively he 
night shift Ms ground and flourish Ms rapier, coMd not break the 
defence. He determined, therefore, upon a new game, for wMch his 
frankness of manner admirably adapted him. Just as he formed 
this resolution, Mrs. Templeton rose, and with a gentle bow, and 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 165 

soft, though languid smile, glided from the room. The two gentlemen 
resettled themselves, and Tcnipleton pushed the bottle to Ferrers. 

" Help yourself, I/imlcy ; your travels seem to have deprived you 
of your high spirits— you lire pensive." 

'• Sir," said Ferrers, abruptly. "I wish to consult you." 

"Oh, young man! you have been guilty of some excess — you have 
gambled — you have " 

" 1 have done nothing:, sir, that should make me less worthy your 
esteem . I repeat, I wish to consult you ; I have outlived the hot days 
of my youth— 1 am now alive to the claims of the world. I have 
talents, 1 believe ; and I have application, I know. I wish to fill a 
position in the world that may redeem my past indolence, and do 
credit lo my family. Sir, I set your example before me, and I now 
ask your counsel, with the determination to follow it." 

Templeton was startled ; he half shaded his face with his hand, and 
gazed searchingly upon the high forehead and bold eyes of his nepnew. 
" I believe you are sincere," said he after a pause. 

" You may well believe so ; sir." 

""Well, I will think of this. I like an honourable ambition— not 
too extravagant a one, — that is sinful ; but a respectable _ station in the 
world is a proper object of desire, and wealth is a blessing; because," 
added the rich man, taking another slice of the pine-apple, — "it en- 
ables us to be of use to our fellow-creatures !" 

"Sir, then," said Ferrers, with daring animation — "then I avow 
that my ambition is precisely of the kind you speak of. I am obscure, 
I desire to be reputably known : my fortune is mediocre, I desire it to 
be great. I ask yon for nothing — I know your generous heart ; but I 
wish independently to work out my own career !" 

" Lumley," said Templeton ; " I never esteemed you so much as I 
do now. Listen to me — I will confide in you : I think the govern- 
ment are under obligations to me." 

' I know it," exclaimed Ferrers, whose eyes sparkled at the thought 
of a sinecure — for sinecures then existed ! 

"And," pursued the uncle, "I intend to ask them a favour in 
return." 

"Oh, sir!" 

"Yes; I think — mark me — with management and address, 1 
may " 

"Well, my dear sir!" 

" Obtain a barony for mvself and heirs ; I trust I shall soon have a 
family!" 

Had somebody given Lumley Ferrers a hearty cuff on the ear, he 
would have thought less of it than of this wind-up of his uncle's am- 
bitious projects. His jaws fell, his eyes grew an inch larger, and he 
remained perfectly speechless. 

"Ay," pursued Mr. Templeton, " I have long dreamed of this ; my 
character is spotless, my fortune great. I have ever exerted my par- 
liamentary influence in favour of ministers \ and, in this commercial 
country, no man has higher claims than Richard Templeton to the 
honours of a virtuous, loyal, and religious state. Yes, my boy, I like 
vour ambition — you see I have some of it myself; and since you are 



1M ERNEST 51ALTJIAVBOS. 

sincere in your wish to tread in my footsteps, I think I can obtain 
you a junior partnership in a highly respectable establishment. Let 
»ie see ; your capital now is " 

" Pardon me, sir," interrupted Lumley, colouring with indignation 
despite himself ; " I honour commerce much, but my paternal rela- 
tions arc not such as would allow me to enter into trade. And, 
permit me to add," continued he, seizing with instant adroitness the 
new weakness presented to him— "permit me to add, that those 
relations who have been ever kind to me, would, properly managed. 
be highly efficient in promoting your own views of advancement ; for 
your sake I would not break with them. Lord Saxingham is still a 
minister — nay, he is in the cabinet." 

"Hem— Lumley — hem!" said Templeton thoughtfully; "we will 
consider — we will consider. Any more wine ?" 

" No, I thank you, sir." 

"Then I'll just take my evening stroll, and think over matters. 
You can rejoin Mrs. Templeton. And I say, Lumley,— I read 
prayers at nine o'clock. — Never forget your Makei, and He will not 
torget you. The barony will be an excellent thing — eh? — an English 
peerage — yes — an English peerage ! very different from your beggarly 
countships abroad!" 

So saying, Mr. Templeton rang for his hat and cane, and stepped 
into the lawn from the window of the dining-room. 

" ' The world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open,' " mut- 
tered Ferrers ; " I would mould this selfish old man to my purpose ; 
for, since I have neither genius to write, nor eloquence to declaim, I 
will at least see whether I have not cunning to plot, and courage to 
act. Conduct — conduct — conduct — there lies my talent ; and what is 
conduct but a steady walk from a design to its execution ! " 

With these thoughts Eerrers sought Mrs. Templeton. He opened 
the folding-doors very gently, for all his habitual movements were 
quick and noiseless, and perceived that Mrs. Templeton sat by the 
window, and that she seemed engrossed with a book which lay open 
on a little work-table before her. 

"Eordyee's Advice to young Married Women, I suppose. Sly- 
jade ! However, I must not have her against me." 

He approached ; still Mrs. Templeton did not note him ; nor was 
it till he stood facing her that he himself observed that her tears were 
falling fast over the page. 

He was a little embarrassed, and, turning; towards the window, 
affected to cough, and then said, without looking at Mrs. Templeton, 
" I fear I have disturbed you." 

" No," answered the same low, stifled voice that had before replied 
to Lumley' s vain attempts to provoke conversation ; " it was a melan- 
choly employment, and perhaps it is not right to indulge in it." 

" May I inquire what author so affected you ?" 

" It is but a volume of poems, and I am no judge of poetry ; but it 
contains thoughts which — which " Mrs. Templeton paused ab- 
ruptly, and Lumley quietly took up the book. 

"' Ah !" said he, turning to the title-r>age— " my friend ought to be 
Eiuch flattered." 



ERNEST MAXTRAVERS. 165 

' Tour friend?" 

" Yes ; this, I see, is by Ernest Maltravers, a very intimate ally of 
mine." 

" I should like to see him," cried Mrs. Templeton, almost with 
animation — "1 read but little; it was by chance that I met with one 
of his books, and they are as if I heard a dear friend speaking to nic. 
All ! I should like to see him !" 

"I'm sure, madam," said the voice of a third person, in an austere 
and rebuking accent, " I do not see what good it would do your im- 
mortal soul to see a man who writes idle verses, which appear to me, 
indeed, higlily immoral. I just looked into that volume ims morning, 
and found nothing but trash — love-sonnets and such stuff." 

Mrs. Templeton made no reply, and Lumley, in order to change the 
conversation, wluch seemed a little too matrimonial for his taste, said, 
rather awkwardly, " You are returned very soon, sir." 

" Yes, I don't like walking in the rain ! " 

"Bless me, it rains, so it does — I had not observed " 

"Are you wet, sir ? had you not better — " began the wife 
timidly. 

"No, ma'am, I'm not wet, I thank you. By the bye, nephew, this 
new author is a friend of yours. I wonder a man of his family should 
condescend to turn author. He can come to no good. I hope you 
will drop his acquaintance — authors are very unprofitable associates, 
I'm sure. I trust I shall see no more of Mr. Maltravers' books in 
my house." 

" Nevertheless, he is well thought of, sir, and makes no mean figure 
in the world," said Lumley, stoutly ; for he was by no means disposed 
to give up a friend who might be as useful to him as Mr. Templeton 
himself. 

" Pigurc, or no figure — I have not had many dealings with authors 
in my day ; and when I had, I always repented it. Not sound, sir, 
not sound — all cracked somewhere. Mrs. Templeton, have the kind- 
ness to get the Praper-book — my hassock must be fresh stuffed, it 
gives me quite a pain in my knee. Lumley, will you ring the bell? 
Your aunt is very melancholy. True religion is not gloomy ; we will 
read a sermon on Cheerfulness." 

" So, so," said Mr. Ferrers to himself, as he undressed that night — 
" I see that my uncle is a little displeased with my aunt's pensive 
face — a little jealous of her thinking of anything but himself : tanl 
mieux. I must work upon this discovery ; it will not do for them to 
live too happily with each other. And what with that lever, and what 
with his ambitious projects, I think I see a way to push the good 
things of this world a few inches nearer to Lumley Ferrers." 



166 ERNESl' MALTEAViaa. 



CHAPTER in. 



" The pride too of her step, as light 

Along the unconscious earth she went» 
Seemed that of one, born with a right 
To walk some heavenlier element." — Loves of tin; Angela, 

* * * " Can it be 

That these tine impulses, these lofty thoughts 
Burning with their own beauty, are but given 
To make me the low slave of vanity ? "—Erinna. 

* * * " Is she not too fair 
Even to think of maiden's sweetest care ? 
The mouth and brow are contrasts." — Ibid. 

It was two or three evenings after the date of the last chapter^ and 
there was what the newspapers call " a select party" in one of the 
noblest mansions in London. A young lady, on whom all eyes were 
bent, and whose beauty might have served the painter for a model of 
a Semiramis or Zenobia, more majestic than became her years, and so 
classically faultless as to have something cold and statue-like in its 
haughty lineaments, was moving through the crowd that murmured 
applauses as she past. This lady was Florence Lascelles, the 
daughter of Lumley^s great relation, the Earl of Saxingham, and 
supposed to be the richest heiress in England. Lord Saxingham 
himself drew aside his daughter as she swept along. 

"Florence," said he in a whisper, "the Duke of is greatly 

struck with you — be civil to him — I am about to present him." 

So saying, the earl turned to a small, dark, stiff-looking man, of 
about twenty-eight years of age, at his left, and introduced the Duke 

of to Lady Florence Lascelles. The duke was unmarried j it 

was an introduction between the greatest match and the wealthiest 
heiress in the peerage. 

" Lady Florence," said Lord Saxingham, " is as fond of horses as 
yourself, duke, though not quite so good a judge." 

_ " I confess I do like horses," said the duke, with an ingenuous 
air. 

Lord Saxingham moved away. 

Lady Florence stood mute— one glance of bright contempt shot 
from her large eyes ; her lip slightly curled, and she then half turned 
aside, and seemed to forget that her new acquaintance was in ex- 
istence. 

His grace, like most great personages, was not apt to take offence ; 
nor could he, indeed, ever suppose that any slight towards the Duke 

of could be intended ; still he thought it would be proper in 

Lady Florence to begin the conversation ; for he himself, though not 
shy, was habitually silent, and accustomed to be saved the fatigue of 
defraying the small charges of society. After a pause, seeing, how- 
*ver. that Lady Florence remained speechless, he Degan — 



ERNJiST MALTRAVERS. 10/ 

"You tide sometimes in the Park, Lady Florence P" 

"Very seldom." 

" It is, indeed, too -warm for riding at present." 

" I did not say so." 

"Hem— I thought you did." 

Another pause. 

"Did you speak, Lady Florence?" 

"No."' 

" Oh ! I beg pardon — Lord Saxingham is looking very well." 

" I am glad you think so." 

"Your picture in the exhibition scarcely does you justice, Lady 
Florence ; yet Lawrence is usually happy." 

" You are very nattering," said Lady Florence, with a lively and 
perceptible impatience in her tone and manner. The young beauty 
was thoroughly spoilt — and now all the scorn of a scornful nature was 
drawn forth, by observing the envious eyes of the crowd were bent 

upon one whom the Duke of was actually talking to. Brilliant 

as were her own powers of conversation, she would not deign to 
exert them — she was an aristocrat of intellect rather than birth, and 
she took it into her head that the duke was an idiot. She was very 
much mistaken. If she had but broken up the ice, she would have 
found that the water below was not shallow. The duke, in fact, like 
many other Englishmen, though he did not like the trouble of show- 
ing "forth, and had an ungainly manner, was a man who had read a 
good deal, possessed a sound head and an honourable mind, though. 
he did not know what it was to love anybody, to care much for any- 
thing, and was at once perfectly sated and yet perfectly contented; 
for apathy is the combination of satiety and content. 

Still Florence judged of him as lively persons are apt to judge of 
the sedate, besides she wanted to proclaim to him and to everybody 
else, how little she cared for dukes and great matches ; she, there- 
fore, with a slight inclination of her head, turned away, and extended 
her hand to a dark young man, who was gazing on her with that 
respectful but unmistakable admiration which proud women are never 
proud enough to despise. 

" Ah, signor," said she, in Italian, " I am so §lad to see you ; it is 
a relief, indeed, to find genius in a crowd of nothings." 

So saying, the heiress seated herself on one ol those convenient 
couches which hold but two, and beckoned the Italian to her side. 
Oh, how the vain heart of Castruccio Cesarini beat ! — what visions of 
love, rank, wealth, aJready flitted before him ! 

" I almost fancy," said Castruccio, " that the old days of romance 
are returned, when a queen could turn from princes and warriors to 
listen to a troubadour." 

" Troubadours are now more rare than warriors and princes," re- 
plied Florence, with gay animation, which contrasted strongly with 

the coldness she had manifested to the Duke of , " and therefore 

it would not now be a very great merit in a queen to fly from dulness 
and insipidity to poetry and wit." 

" Ah, say not wit," said Cesarini ; " wit is incompatible with the 
jrrave character of deep feelings ;— incompatible with enthusiasin. 



168 ERNEST MALTHA. VEKS. 

with worship ; — incompatible with the thoughts that wait upon Lady 
Florence Lascelles." 

_ Florence coloured and slightly frowned; but the immense distinc- 
tion between her position and that of the young foreigner, with her 
own inexperience, both of real life and the presumption of vain hearts, 
made her presently forget the flattery that would have offended her 
in another. She turned the conversation, however, into general chan- 
nels, and she talked of Italian poetry with a warmth and eloquence 
worthy of the theme. While they thus conversed, a new guest 
had arrived, who, from the spot where he «tood, engaged with 
Lord Saxingham, fixed a steady and scrutinizing gaze upon the 
pair. 

" Lady Florence has indeed improved," said this new guest. " I 
could not have conceived that England boasted any one half so 
beautiful." 

" She certainly is handsome, my dear Lumley, — the Lascelles cast 
of countenance," replied Lord Saxingham, — " and so gifted ! She is 
positively learned — quite a has blew. I tremble to think of the crowd 
of poets and painters who will make a fortune out of her enthusiasm. 
Untre nous, Lumley, I could wish her married to a man of sober 

sense, like the Duke of -; for sober sense is exactly what she 

wants. Do observe, she has been just half an hour flirting with that 
odd-looking adventurer, a Signor Cesarini, merely because he writes 
sonnets and wears a dress like a stage-player ! " 

"It is the weakness of the sex, my dear lord," said Lumley ; "they 
like to patronise, and they dote upon all oddities from China monsters 
to cracked poets. But I fancy, hy a restless glance cast every now 
and then around the room, that my beautiful cousin has in her 
something of the coquette." 

" There you are quite right, Lumley," returned Lord Saxingham, 
laughing ; " but I will not quarrel with her for breaking hearts and 
refusing hands, if she do but grow steady at last, and settle into the 
Duchess of ." 

"Duchess of ! " repeated Lumley, absently; "well, I will go 

and present myself. I see she is growing tired of the signor. I will 
sound her as to the ducal impressions, my dear lord." 

" Do, / dare not," replied the father ; " she is an excellent girl, but 
heiresses are always contradictory. It was very foolish to deprive me 
of all control over her fortune. Come and see me again soon, 
Lumley. I suppose you are going abroad ? " 

"No, I shall settle in England; but of my prospects and plans 
more hereafter." 

With this, Lumley quietly glided away to Florence. There was 
something in Ferrers that was remarkable from its very simplicity. 
His clear, sharp features, with the short hair and high brow — the 
absolute plainness of his dress, and the noiseless, easy, self-collected 
calm of all his motions, made a strong contrast to the showy Italian, 
by whose side he now stood. Florence looked up at him with some 
Jittle surprise at his intrusion. 

"Ah, you don't recollect me!" said Lumley, with lus pleasant 



ERNEST rtiALTUAVEHS. 169 

laagh. Faithless Imogen, after all your vows of constancy ! Behold 
▼oar Alonzo ' 

* The worms they crept in and the worms they crept out.' 

Don't you remember how you trembled when I told you that true 
story, as we 

' Conversed as we sat on the green ? ' " 

" Oh ! " cried Florence, " it is indeed you, my dear cousin — my 
dear Lumlcy ! What an ape since we parted ! " 

" Don't talk of age— it is an ugly word to a man of my years. 
Pardon, signor, if I disturb you." 

And here Lumlcy, with a low bow, slid coolly into the place which 
Cesarini, who had sliily risen, left vacant for liim. Castruccio looked 
disconcerted ; but Florence had forgotten him in her delight at seeing 
Lumley, and Cesarini moved discontentedly away, and seated himself 
at a distance. 

" And I come back," continued Lumley, " to find you a confirmed 
beauty and a professional coquette — Don't blush ! " 

" Do they, indeed, call me a coquette ? " 

" Oh, yes, — for once the world is just." 

" Perhaps 1 do deserve the reproach. Oh, Lumley, how I despise 
all that I bee and hear ! " 

" What, even the Duke of ? " 

" "Yes, I fear even the Duke of is no exception ! " 

" Your father will go mad if he hear you." 

" My father ! — my poor father !— yes, he thinks the utmost that I, 
Florence Lascelles, am made for, is to wear a ducal coronet and give 
the best balls in London." 

" And pray what was Florence Lascelles made for ? " 

" Ah ! I cannot answer the question. I fear for Discontent and 
Disdain." 

" You are an enigma — but I will take pains and not rest till I 
solve you." 

" 1 clefv you." 

'"' Thanks — better defy than despise." 

" Oh, you must be strangely altered, if I can despise you" 

" Indeed ! what do you remember of me ? " 

" That \ ou were frank, bold, and therefore, I suppose, true ! — that 
you shocked my aunts and my father by your contempt for the 
vulgar hypocrisies of our conventional life. Oh, no ! I cannot despise 
you." 

Lumley raised his eyes to those of Florence — he gazed on her long 
and earnestly — ambitious hopes rose high within him. 

" My fair cousin," said he, in an altered and serious tone, " I. see 
something in your spirit kindred to mine ; and I am glad that yours 
is one of the earliest voices which confirm my new resolves on my 
return to busy England ! " 

" And those resolves ? " 



170 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

"Are an Englishman's — energetic and ambitious." 

" Alas, ambition ! How many false portraits are there of the great 
original." 

Lumley thought he had found a erne to the heart of his cousin, and 
he began to expatiate, with unusual eloquence, on the nobleness of 
that daring sin which " lost angels heaven." Florence listened to 
him with attention, but not with sympathy. Lumley was deceived. 
His was not an ambition that could attract the fastidious but high- 
souled Idealist. The selfishness of his nature broke out in all the 
sentiments that he fancied would seem to her most elevated. Place 
— power — titles — all these objects were low and vulgar to one who 
saw them daily at her feet. 

At a distance, the Duke of continued from time to time to 

direct his cold gaze at Florence. He did not like her the less for not 
seeming to court him. He had something generous within him, and 
could understand her. He went away at last, and thought seriously 
of Florence as a wife. Not a wife for companionship, for friendship, 
for love ; but a wife who could take the trouble of rank off his hands — 
do him honour, and raise him an heir, whom he might flatter himself 
would be Ids own. 

From his comer also, with dreams yet more vain and daring, 
Castruccio Cesarini cast his eyes upon the queen-like brow of the 
great heiress. Oh, yes, she had a soul — she could disdain rank and 
revere genius ! What a triumph over De Montaigne — Maltravers — 
all the world, if he, the neglected poet, could win the hand for which 
the magnates of the earth sighed in vain! Pure and lofty as he 
thought himself, it was her birth and her wealth which Cesarini 
adored in Florence. And Lumley, nearer perhaps to the prize than 
either— yet still far off— went on conversing, with eloquent lips and 
sparkling eyes, while his cold heart was planning every word, dictating 
every glance, and laying out (for the most worldly are often the most 
visionary) the chart for a royal road to fortune. And Florence 
Lascelles, when the crowd had dispersed and she sought her 
chamber, forgot all three; and with that morbid romance often 
peculiar to those for whom Fate smiles the most, mused, over the 
ideal image of the one she could love — " in maiden meditation not 
fancy-free ! " 



CHAPTER TV 

" In mea vesan&s habui dispendia vires, 
Et valui posnas fortis in ipse meas."* — Ovid. 

" Then might my breast be read within, 
A thousand volumes would be written there." — Earl of Stikuw*. 

Ernest Maltravers was at the jeight of his reputation ; the 
work which he had deemed the crisis that was to make or mar him 
■was the most brilliantly successful of all he had yet committed to the 

» I had the strength of a malraan to my own cost, and employed that strength 
b\ my own punishment. 



BHNEVr 3I.V1.TKAYEK3. 171 

public. Certainly, chance did as much for it as merit, as is usually 
the case with works that become instantaneously popular. We may 
hammer away at the casket with strong arm and good purpose, and 
all in vain ; — when some morning a careless stroke hits the right nail 
on the head, and we secure the treasure. 

Tt was at this time, when in the prime of youth — rich, courted, 
respected, run after— that Ernest Maltravers fell seriously ill. It 
was no active or visible disease, but a general irritability of the 
nerves, and a languid sinking of the whole _ frame. His labours 
began, perhaps, to tell against him. In earlier life he had been as 
active as a hunter of the chamois, and the hardy exercise of bis frame 
counteracted the eifects of a restless aud ardent mind. The change 
from an athletic to a sedentary habit of life — the wear and tear of the 
brain — the absorbing passion for knowledge which day and night 
kept all his faculties in a stretch, made strange havoc in a consti- 
tution naturally strong. The poor author ! how few persons under- 
stand, and forbear with, and pity him ! He sells his health and youth 
to a rugged taskmaster. And, blind and selfish world, you expect 
him to oe as free of manner, and as pleasant of cheer, and as ecrual of 
mood, as if he were passing the most agreeable and healthful existence 
that pleasure could afford to smooth the wrinkles of the mind, or 
medicine invent to regulate the nerves of the body ! But there was. 
besides all this, another cause that operated against the successful 
man ! — His heart was too solitary. He lived without the sweet house- 
hold ties — the connections and amities he formed excited for a moment, 
but possessed no charm to comfort or to soothe. Cleveland resided so 
much in the country, and was of so much calmer a temperament, and 
so much more advanced in age, that with all the friendship that sub- 
sisted between them, there was none of that daily and familiar inter- 
change of confidence which affectionate natures demand as the very 
food of life. Of his brother (as the reader will conjecture from never 
having been formally presented to him) Ernest saw but little. Colone* 
Maltravers, one of the gayest and handsomest men of his time, 
married to a fine lady, lived principally at Paris, except when, for a 
few weeks in the shooting season, he filled his country house with 
companions who had nothing in common with Ernest : the brothers 
corresponded regularly every epiarter, and saw each other once a 
year — this was all their intercourse. Ernest Maltravers stood in the 
world alone, with that cold but anxious spectre — Reputation. 

It was late at night. Before a table covered with the monuments 
of erudition and thought sat a young man with a pale and worn 
countenance. The clock in the room told with a fretting distinctness 
every moment that lessened the journey to the grave. There was au 
anxious and expectant expression on the face of the student, and from 
time to time he glanced to the clock, and muttered to himself. Was 
it a letter from some adored mistress —the soothing flattery from some 
ihighty arbiter of arts and letters — that the young man eagerly 
awaited ? No ; the aspircr was forgotten in the valetudinarian. 
Ernest Maltravers was waiting the visit of his physician, whom at 
that late hour a sudden thought hud induced him to summon from hia 
rest. At icngth the well-known knock was heard, aud in a few 



172 EKNJiST MALTItAVEHB. 

moments the physician entered. He was one well versed in the 
peculiar pathology of book men, and kindly as well as skilful. 

" My Hear Mr. Maltravers, what is this Y How are we ? — not 
seriously ill, I hope — no relapse — pulse low and irregular, I see, but 
no fever. You are nervous." 

" Doctor," said the student, " I did not send for you at tills time of 
liiglit from the idle fear or fretful caprice of an invalid. But when 1 
saw you tliis morning, you dropped some hints which have haunted 
me ever since. Much that it befits the conscience and the soul to 
attend to without loss of time, depends upon my full knowledge of 
my real state. If I understand you rightly, I may have but a short 
time to live — is it so ? " 

" Indeed ! " said the doctor, turning away his face ; " you have 
exaggerated my meaning. I did not say that you were in what we 
technically call danger." 

" Am I then likely to be a long-lived man ? " 
The doctor coughed — " That is uncertain, my dear young friend," 
said he, after a pause. 

"Be plain with me. The plans of life must be based upon such 
calculations as we can reasonably form of its probable duration. Do 
not fancy that I am weak enough or coward enough to shrink from 
any abyss which I have approached unconsciously ; I desire — I adjure 
— nay, I command you to be explicit." 

There was an earnest and solemn dignity in his patient's voice and 
manner which deeply touched and impressed the good physician. 

"I will answer you frankly," said he; "you over-work the nerves 
and the brain ; if you do not relax, you will subject yourself to con- 
firmed disease and premature death. For several months — perhaps 
for years to come — you should wholly cease from literary labour. Is 
this a hard sentence ? You are rich and young — enjoy yourself while 
you can." 

Maltravers appeared satisfied — changed the conversation — talked 
easily on other matters for a few minutes : nor was it till he had dis- 
missed his physician that he broke forth with the thoughts that were 
burning in him. 

" Oh ! " cried he aloud, as he rose and paced the room -with rapid 
strides; "now, when I see before me the broad and luminous path, 
am I to be condemned to halt and turn aside ? A vast empire rises on 
my view, greater than that of Caesars and conquerors— an empire 
durable and universal in the souls of men, that time itself cannot 
overthrow ; and Death marches with me, side by side, and the skeleton 
hand waves me back to the nothingness of common men." 

He paused at the casement — he threw it open, and leant forth and 
gasped for air. Heaven was serene and still, as morning came coldly 
forth amongst the waning stars ; and the haunts of men, in their 
thoroughfare of idleness and of pleasure, were desolate and void. No- 
thing, save Nature, was awake. 

"And if, stars!" murmured Maltravers, from the depth of his 
excited heart — "if I have been insensible to your solemn beauty — if 
the Heaven and the Earth had been to me but as air and clay — if I were 
one of a dull and dim-eyed herd — I might live on, and drop into the 



ERNEST MALTKAVERS. 173 

crave from the ripeness of unprofitable years. It is because [ yearn 
lor the great objects of an immortal being, that life shrinks and 
shrivels up like a scroll. Away ! I will not listen to these human and 
material monitors, and consider Ufe as a thing greater than the tilings 
that I would live for. My choice is made, glory is niore persuasive 
than the grave." 

He turned impatiently from the casement — his eyes flashed — hia 
chest heaved — he trod the chamber with a monarch's air. All the 
calculations of prudence, all the tame and methodical reasonings with 
which, from time to time, he had sought to sober down the impetuous 
man into the calm machine, faded away before the burst of awful and 
commanding passions that swept over his soul. Tell a man, in the 
full tide of nis triumphs, that he bears death within him ; and what 
crisis of thought can be more startling and more terrible ! 

Maltravers nad, as we have seen, cared little for fame, till fame had 
been brought within his reach ; then, with every step he took, new- 
Alps had arisen. Each new conjecture brought to light a new truth 
that demanded enforcement or defence. Rivalry and competition 
chafed his blood, and kept his faculties at their full speed. He had 
the generous race-horse spirit of emulation. — Ever in action, ever in 
progress, cheered on by the_ sarcasms of foes, even more than by the 
applause of friends, the desire of glory had become the habit of ex- 
istence. When we have commenced a career, what stop is there till 
the grave ?— where is the definite barrier of that ambition which, like 
the eastern oird, seems ever on the wing, and never rests upon the 
earth ? Our names are not settled till our death ; the ghosts of whafc 
we have done are made our haunting monitors — our scourging 
ivengers — if ever we cease to do, or fall short of the younger past, 
licpose is oblivion ; to pause is to unravel all the web that we have 
woven — until the tomb closes over us, and men, just when it is toe 
late, strike the fair balance between ourselves and our rivals ; and wc 
are measured, not by the least, but by the greatest, triumphs we have 
acliieved. Oh, what a crushing sense of impotence comes over us, 
when we feel that our frame cannot support our mind — when the hand 
ean no lomrer execute what the soul, actively as ever, conceives and 
desires ! — the quick life tied to the dead form — the ideas fresh as im- 
mortality, gushing forth rich and golden, and the broken nerves, and 
the aching frame, and the weary eyes ! — the spirit athirst for liberty 
and heaven — and the damning, choking consciousness that we 
are walled up and prisoned in a dungeon that must be our burial- 
place ! Talk not of freedom — there is no such thing as freedom to a 
man whose body is the gaol, whose infirmities are the racks, of hi? 
genius ! 

Maltravers paused at last, and threw himself on his sofa, wearied 
and exhausted. Involuntarily, and as a half unconscious means of 
escaping from his conflicting and profitless emotions, he turned to 
several letters, which had for hours lain unopened on his table. Every 
one, the seal of which he broke, seemed to mock his state — every one' 
seemed to attest the felicity of his fortunes. Some bespoke the 
admiring sympathy of the highest and the wisest— one offered him a. 
brilliant opening into public life— another (it was from Cleveland) was 



174 SAFEST MALTKA.VEHS. 

fraught withall the proud and rapturous approbation of a prophet whose 
auguries are at last fulfilled. At that letter Maltravers sighed deeply and 
paused before he turned to the others. The last he opened was in an 
unknown hand, nor was any name affixed to it. Like all writers Oc 
some note, Maltravers was in the habit of receiving anonymous letters 
of praise, censure, warning, and exhortation — especially from young 
ladies at boarding-schools, and old ladies in the country; but there- 
was that in the- first sentences of the letter, which he now opened 
with a careless hand, that riveted his attention. It was a small and 
beautiful handwriting, yet the letters were more clear and bold than 
they usually are in feminine ealigraphy. 

''Ernest Maltravers," began this singular effusion, "have you 
weighed yourself ? — Are you aware of your capacities ? — Do you feel 
that for you there may be a more dazzling reputation than that which 
appears to content you ? You who seem to penetrate into the subtlest 
windings of the human heart, and to have examined nature as through 
a glass — you, whose thoughts stand forth like armies marshalled in 
defence of truth, bold and dauntless, and without a stain upon their 
glittering armour ; — are you, at your age, and with your advantages, 
to bury yourself amidst books and scrolls ? Do you forget that 
action is the grand career for men who think as you do ? Will this 
word-weighing and picture-writing — the cold eulogies of pedants — the 
listless praises of literary idlers, content all the yearnings of your am- 
bition ? You were not made solely for the closet ; ' The Dreams of 
Pindus, and the Aonian Maids ' cannot endure through the noon of 
manhood. You are too practical for the mere poet, and too poetical 
to sink into the dull tenor of a learned life. I have never seen you, 
yet I know you — I read your spirit in your page ; that aspiration for 
something better and greater than the great and the good, which 
colours all your passionate revelations of yourself and others — cannot 
be satisfied merely by ideal images. You cannot be contented, as 
poets and historians mostly are, by becoming great only from delineat- 
ing great men, or imagining great events, or describing a great era. 
Is it not worthier of you to be what you fancy or relate ? Awake, 
Maltravers, awake ! Look into your heart, and feel your proper 
destinies. And who am I that thus address you? — a woman 
whose soul is filled with you — a woman, in whom your eloquence 
has awakened, amidst frivolous and vain circles, the sense of a 
new existence — a woman who would make you, yourself, the 
embodied ideal of your own thoughts and dreams, and who would 
ask from earth no other lot than that of following you on the road of 
fame with the eyes of her heart. Mistake me not; I repeat that I 
have never seen you, nor do I wish it ; you might be other than I 
imagine, and I should lose an idol, and _ be left without a worship. 
I am a kind of visionary Rosicrucian : it is a spirit that I adore, and 
not a being like myself. You imagine, perhaps, that I have some 
purpose to serve in this — I have no object in administering to your 
vanity ; and, if I judge you rightly, this letter is one that might 
make you vain without a blush. Oh, the adniiration that does not 
spring from holy and profound sources of emotion — how it saddens us 
or disgusts ! I have had my share of vulgar homage, and it only 



EivNESl MAi.TJU.VEKS. 175 

makes me feel doubly alone. I am richer than you are — I have youth 
—I have what they call beauty. And neither riches, youth, nor 
beauty ever gave me the silent and deep happiness I experience when I 
think of you. This is a worship that might, I repeat, well make even 
you vain. Think of these words, I implore you. Be worthy, not of 
my thoughts, but of the shape in which they represent you ; and every 
ray of glory that surrounds you will brignten my own way, and in- 
spire me with a kindred emulation. Farewell. — I may write to you 
again, but you will never discover me ; and in life I pray that we may 
never meet!" 



CHAPTER V. 

" Our list of nobles next let Amri grace." 

Absalom and Achitophel. 

" Sine me vacivum tempus ne quod dem mihi 
Laboris." * — Tek. 

" 1 can't think," said one of a group of young men, loitering by the 
steps of a club-house in St. James's Street — " I can't think what has 
chanced to Maltravers. Do you observe (as he walks — there — the 
other side of the way) how much he is altered ? He stoops like an 
old man, and hardly ever lifts his eyes from the ground. He certainly 
seems sick and sad!" 

" Writing books, I suppose." 

" Or privately married." 

" Or growing too rich — rich men are always unhappy beings." 

" Ha, Ferrers, how are you?" 

" So — so ! What's the news ?" replied Lumley. 

"Battler pays forfeit." 

"Oh! but in polities?" 

" Hang politics ! — are you turned politician?" 

" At my age, what else is there left to do ? " 

"I thought so, by your hat; all politicians sport odd-looking 
hats : it is very remarkable, but that is the great symptom of the 
disease." 

"My hat! — is it odd?" said Ferrers, taking off the commodity in 
question, and seriously regarding it. 

" Why, who ever saw such a brim ?" 

"Glad you think so." 

"Why, Ferrers?" 

"Because it is a prudent policy in this country to surrender some- 
thing trifling up to ridicule. If people can abuse your hat or your 
carnage, or the shape of your nose, or a wart on your chin, they let 
slip a thousand more important matters. 'Tis the wisdom of the 
camel-driver, who gives up his gown for the camel to trample on, that 
he may escape himself." 

* 8o£er me to employ my spare time in some kind of lasotn. 



176 EltNEST 3IALTRAVERS. 

" How droll you are, Ferrers ! "Well, I shall turn in and read tis 
papers ; and you " 

" Shall pay my visits, and rejoice in my hat." 

"Good day to you; by the bye, your friend, Maltravers, has just 
past, looking thoughtful, and talking to himself ! What's the matter 
with him ?"_ 

" Lamenting, perhaps, that he, too, does not wear an odd hat for 
gentlemen like you to laugh at, and leave the rest of him in peace. 
Good day." 

Un went Ferrers, and soon found himself in the Mall of the Park. 
Here he was joined by Mr. Templeton. 

" Well, Lumley," said the latter (and it may be here remarked, 
that Mr. Templeton now exhibited towards his nephew a greater 
respect of manner and tone than he had thought it necessary 
to observe before) — "well, Lumley, and have you seen Lord Sax- 
ingham ? " 

" I have, sir ; and I regret to say " 

_ " I thought so — I thought it," interrupted Templeton : " no gra- 
titude in public men — no wish, in high place, to honour virtue ! " 

"Pardon me; Lord Saxingham declares that he should be de- 
lighted to forward your views — that no man more deserves a peerage; 
but that " 

"Oh, yes; always 'buts/'" 

" But that there are so many claimants at present whom it is im- 
possible to satisfy ; and— and— but I feel I ought not to go on." 

" Proceed, sir, I beg." 

"Why, then, Lord Saxingham is (I must be frank) a man who 
has a great regard for his own family. Your marriage (a source, my 
dear uncle, of the greatest gratification to me\ cuts off the probable 
chance of your fortune and title, if you acquire the latter, descend- 
ing to " 

"Yourself!" put in Templeton, drily. "Your relation seems, 
for the first time, to have discovered how dear your interests are to 
him." 

" For me, individually, sir, my relation does not care a rush — but 
lie cares a great deal for any merrber of his house being rich and in 
high station. It increases the rauge and credit of his connections ; 
and Lord Saxingham is a man whom connections help to keep 
great. To be plain with you, he will not stir in this business, because 
he does not see how his kinsman is to be benefited, or his houso 
strengthened." 

" Public virtue ! " exclaimed Templeton. 

"Virtue, my dear uncle, is a female : as long as she is private pro- 
perty, she is excellent ; but Public Virtue, like any other public lady, 
is a common prostitute." 

" Pshaw ! " grunted Templeton, who was too much out of humour 
to read his nephew the lecture he might otherwise have done 
upon the impropriety of his simile; for Mr. Templeton was one 
of those men who hold it vicious to talk of vice as existing in the 
world; he was very much shocked to hear anything called by its 
proper name. 



ERNEST MALXRAVEKS. 177 

" Has not Mrs. Templeton some connections that may be useful te 
you?" 

" No, sir !" cried the uncle, in a voice of thunder. 

"Sorry to hear it — but we cannot expect all things: you hav* 
married for love — you have a happy home, a charming wife — this ia 
better than a title and a fine lady." 

" Mr. Lumley Ferrers, you must spare me your consolations. My 
wife " 

" Loves you dearly, I dare say," said the imperturbable nephew. 
" She has so much sentiment, is so fond of poetry. Oh, yes, she must 
love one who has done so much for her." 

" Done so much ; what do you mean ? " 

" Why, with your fortune — your station— your just ambition — you, 
who might have married any one ; nay, by remaining unmarried, have 
conciliated all my interested, selfish relations, hang them — you have 
married a lady without connections — and what more could you do for 
her?" 

"Pooh, pooh; you don't know all." 

Here Templeton stopped short, as if about to say too much, and 
frowned ; then, after a pause, he resumed, " Lumley, I have married, 
it is true. You may not be my heir, but I will make it up to you — 
that is, if you deserve my affection." 

" My dear unc " 

" Don't interrupt me, I have projects for you. Let our interests 
be the same. The title may yet descend to you. I may have no 
male offspring — meanwhile, draw on me to any reasonable amount 
— young men have expenses — but be prudent, and if you want to 
get on in the world, never let the world detect you in a scrape. There, 
leave me now." 

" My best, my heartfelt thanks ! " 

" Hush — sound Lord Saxingham again ; I must and will have this 
bauble — I have set my heart on it." So saying, Templeton waved 
away his nephew, and musingly pursued his path towards Hyde Park 
Corner, where his carriage awaited him. As soon as he entered his 
demesnes, he saw his wife's daughter running across the lawn to greet 
him. His heart softened ; he checked the carriage and descended: he 
caressed her, he played with her, he laughed as she laughed. No 
parent could be more fond. 

" Lumley Ferrers has talent to do me honour," said he, anxiously, 
" but his principles seem unstable. However, surely that open man- 
ner is the sign of a good heart ! " 

Meanwhile, Ferrers, in high spirits, took his way to Ernest's house. 
His friend was not at home, but Ferrers never wanted a host's pre- 
sence in order to be at home liimself. Books were round him in 
abundance, but Ferrers was not one of those who read for amusement. 
He threw himself into an easy-chair, and began weaving new meshes 
of ambition and intrigue. At length the door opened, and Maltravers 
entered. 

" Why, Ernest, how ill you are looking ! " 

" I have not been well, but I am now recovering. As physicians 
recommend change of air to ordinary patients— so I am about to try 

N 



173 ERNEST MALTKAVJERS. 

change of habit. Active I must be — action is the condition of my 
being ; but I must have done with books for the present. You see me 
in a new character. 

"How?" 

" That of a public mam — I have entered parliament." 

" You astonish me ! — I have read the papers this morning. I see 
not even a vacancy, much less an election." 

" It is all managed by the lawyer and the banker In other words, 
my seat is a close borough." 

" No bore of constituents. I congratulate you, and envy. I wish 1 
were in parliament myself." 

" You ! I never fancied you bitten by the political mania." 

" Political ! — no. But it is the most respectable way, with luck, of 
living on the public. Better than swindling." 

" A candid way of viewing the question. But, I thought at one 
time you were half a Benthamite, and that your motto was, ' The 
greatest happiness of the greatest number." 

" The greatest number to me is number one. I agree with the Py- 
thagoreans — unity is the perfect principle of creation ! Seriously, 
how can you mistake the principles of opinion for the principles of 
conduct ? I am a Benthamite, a benevolist, as a logician — but the 
moment I leave the closet for the world, I lay aside speculation for 
others, and act for myself." 
_ " You are, at least, more frank than prudent in these confes- 
sions." 

" There you are wrong. It is by affecting to be worse than we are 
that we become popular — and we get credit for being both honest and 
practical fellows. My uncle's mistake is to be a hypocrite in words : 
it rarely answers. Be frank in words, and nobody will suspect hypo- 
crisy in your designs." 

Maltravers gazed hard at Ferrers — something revolted and dis- 
pleased his high-wrought Platonism in the easy wisdom of his old 
friend. But he felt, almost for the first time, that Ferrers was a man 
to get on in the world — and he sighed; — I hope it was for the 
world's sake. 

After a short conversation on indifferent matters, Cleveland was 
announced ■ and Ferrers, who could make nothing out of Cleveland, 
soon withdrew. Ferrers was now becoming an economist in his 
time. 

" My dear Maltravers," said Cleveland when they were alone, "I 
am so glad to see you ; for, in the first place, I rejoice to find you are 
extending your career of usefulness." 

" Usefulness — ah, let me think so ! Life is so uncertain and so 
short, that we cannot too soon bring the little it can yield into the 
great commonwealth of the Beautiful or the Honest ; and both be- 
long to and make up the Useful. But in politics, and in a highly 
artificial state, what doubts beset us! what darkness surrounds! li 
we connive at abuses, we juggle with our own reason and integrity— 
if we attack them, how much, how fatally we may derange tnat 
solemn and conventional order which is the mainspring of the 
vnst machine ! How little, too, can one man, whose talents may 



rJUNEST MALTRAVEIIS. 179 

not be iu that coarse road — in that mephitic atmosphere, De enabled 
to effect ! " 

" He may effect a vast deal even without eloquence or labour : — he 
may effect a vast deal, if he can set one example, amidst a crowd of 
selfish aspirants and heated fanatics, of an honest and dispassionate 
man. lie may effect more, if he may serve among the representa- 
tives of that hitherto unrepresented tlnng — Literature ; if he redeem, 
by an ambition above place and emolument, the character for subser- 
vience that court-poets have obtained for letters — if he may prove that 
speculative knowledge is not disjoined from the practical world, and 
maintain the dignity of disinterestedness that shoidd belong to learn- 
ing. But the end of a scientific morality is not to serve others only, 
but also to perfect and accomplish our individual selves ; our own 
souls are a solemn trust to our own lives. You are about to add to 
your experience of human motives and active men- and whatever 
additional wisdom you acquire will become equally evident and 
equally useful, no matter whether it be communicated through action 
or in books. Enough of this, my dear Ernest. _ I have come to dine 
with you, and make you accompany me to-night to a house where 
you will be welcome, and I think interested. Nay, no excuses. I 
have promised Lord Latimer that he shall make your acquaintance, 
and he is one of the most eminent men with whom political life will 
connect you." 

And to tins change of habits, from the closet to the senate, had 
.Maltravers been induced by a state of health, which, with most men, 
would have been an excuse for indolence. Indolent ho could not 
oe ; he had truly said to Ferrers, that " action was the condition of 
his being." If thought, with its fever and aching tension, had been 
too severe a task-master on the nerves and brain, the coarse and 
homely pursuit of practical politics would leave the imagination, and 
intellect in repose, while it would excite the hardier qualities and 
gifts, which animate without exhausting. So, at least, hoped Mallra- 
vers. He remembered the profound saying in one of his favourite 
German authors, " that to keep the mind and body in perfeel health, 
it is necessary to mix habitually and betimes in the common » Hairs of 
men." And the anonymous correspondent; — had her exhortations 
any influence on his decision? I know not. But when Cleveland 
left him, Maltravers unlocked his desk, and re-perused the last letter 
he had received from the Unknown. The lent letter ! — yes, those 
epiatles had now become frequent. 



180 EENESX MAMKAVERS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

* * * * ' Le brillant de votre esprit donne un si grand eclat a votre 
teint et a vos yeux, que quoiqu'il semble que l'esprit ne doit toucher que les oreilles 
il est pourtant certain que la vOtre eblouit les yeux." — Lettres de Madame ie 
Sevignf.* 

At Lord Latimer's house were assembled some hundreds of those 
persons who are rarely found together in London society: for business, 
politics, and literature, draught off the most eminent men, and usually 
leave to houses that receive the world little better than indolent rank 
or ostentatious wealth. Even the young men of pleasure turn up 
their noses at parties now-a-days, and find society a bore. But there 
are some dozen or two of houses, the owners of which are both apart 
from and above the fashion, in which a foreigner may see, collected 
under the same roof, many of the most remarkable men of busy, 
thoughtful, majestic England. Lord Latimer himself had been a 
cabinet minister. He retired from public life on pretence of ill-health ; 
but, in reality, because its anxious bustle was not congenial to a 
gentle and accomplished, but somewhat feeble, mind. With a high 
reputation and an excellent cook he enjoyed a great popularity, both 
with his own party and the world in general; and he was the centre 
of a small but distinguished, circle of acquaintance, who drank Lati- 
mer's wine, and quoted Latimer's sayings, and liked Latimer much 
better, because, not being author or minister, he was not in their way. 

Lord Latimer received Maltravers with marked courtesy, and even 
deference, and invited him to join his own whist-table, which was one 
of the highest compliments his lordship could pay to his intellect. 
But when his guest refused the proffered honour, the earl turned him 
over to the countess, as having become the property of the woman- 
kind j and was soon immersed in his aspirations for the odd trick. 

While Maltravers was conversing with Lady Latimer, he happened 
to raise his eyes, and saw opposite to him a young lady of such re- 
markable beauty, that he could scarcely refain from an admiring ex- 
clamation. — " And who," he asked, recovering himself, " is that lady? 
It is strange that even I, who go so little into the world, should be 
compelled to inquire the name of one whose beauty must already have 
made her celebrated." 

" Oh, Lady Florence Lascelles— she came out last year. She is, 
indeed, most brilliant, yet more so in mind and accomplishments than 
face. I must be allowed to introduce you." 

At this offer, a strange shyness, and as it were reluctant distrust, 
seized Maltravers — a kind of presentiment of danger and evil. He 
drew back, and would have made some excuse, but Lady Latimer did 

* The brilliane of your wit gives so great a lustre to your complexion and your 
eyes, that though it seems that wit should only reach the ears, it is altogether 
esrtiin that yours dazzles the eyes. 



EEXEST MA1TK.AVEKS. 181 

not heed his embarrassment, and was already by the side of Lady 
Florence Lascelles. A moment more, and beckoning to Maltravers. 
the countess presented him to the lady. As he bowed and seated 
himself beside his new acquaintance, he could not but observe that 
her cheeks were suffused with the most lively blushes, and that she 
received him with a confusion not common even in ladies just brought 
out, and just introduced to " a her." He was rather puzzled than 
flattered by these tokens of an embarrassment, somewhat akin to his 
own ; and the first few sentences of their conversation passed off with 
a certain awkwardness and reserve. At this moment, to the surprise, 
perhaps to the relief, of Ernest, they were joined by Lumley Ferrers. 

" Ah, Lady Florence, I kiss your hands — I am charmed to find you 
acquainted with my friend Maltravers." 

" And Mr. Ferrers, what makes him so late to-mght ?" asked the 
fan - Florence, with a sudden ease which rather startled Maltravers. 

'' A dull dinner, voila tout ! — I have no other excuse." And Ferrers, 
sliding into a vacant chair on the other side of Lady Florence, con-' 
versed volubly and unceasingly, as if seeking to monopolise her 
attention. 

Ernest had not been so much captivated with the manner of Florence 
as he had been struck with her beauty, and now, seeing her apparently i 
engaged with another, he rose and quietly moved away. He was soon 
one of a knot of men who were conversing on the absorbing topics of 
the day; and as by degrees the exciting subject brought out his 
natural eloquence and masculine sense, the talkers became listeners, 
the knot widened into a circle, and he himself was unconsciously the 
object of general attention and respect. 

"And what think you of Mr. Maltravers ?" asked Ferrers, care- 
lessly • "does he keep up your expectations?" 

Lady Florence had sunk into a reverie, and Ferrers repeated his 
question. 

" He is younger than I imagined him, — and — and " 

" Handsomer, I suppose, you mean." 

"No ! calmer and less animated." 

" He seems animated enough now," said Ferrers ; " but your lady- 
like conversation failed in striking the Promethean spark. 'Lay that 
flattering unction to your soul.' " 

" Ah, vou are right — he must have thought me very " 

"Beailtiful, no doubt." 

" Beautiful ! — I hate the word, Lumley. I wish I were not hand- 
some— 1 might then get some credit for my intellect." 

" Humph ! " said Ferrers, significantly. 

"Ob, you don't think so, sceptic," said Florence, shaking her head 
with a slight laugh, and an altered manner. 

" Does it matter what / think," said Ferrers, with an attempted 
touch at the sentimental, " when Lord Tins, and Lord That, and Mr. 
So-and-so, and Count What-d'ye-call-lum, are all making their way to 
you, to dispossess me of my envied monopoly ?" 

While 1 errors spoke, several of the scattered loungers grouped 
around Florence, and the conversation, of which she was the cynosure, 
became animated and gay. Oh, how brilliant she was, that peerless 



182 jsiuJUST maltkayehs. 

Florence! — with what petulant and sparkling grace came wit and 
wisdom, and even genius, from those ruby lips ! Even the assured 
Ferrers felt his subtle intellect as dull and coarse to hers, and shrank 
with a reluctant apprehension from the arrows of her careless and 

frodigal repartees. Tor there was a scorn in the nature of Florence 
/ascelles which made her wit pain more frequently than it pleased. 
Educated even to learning — courageous even to a want of feminacy— 
she delighted to sport with ignorance and pretension, even in the 
highest places ; and the laugh that she excited was like Kghtning,— 
no one could divine where next it might fall. 

But Florence, though dreaded and unloved, was yet courted, nattered, 
and the rage. For this there were two reasons ; first, she was a 
coquette, and secondly, she was an heiress. 

Thus the talkers in the room were divided into two principal groups, 
over one of which Maltravers may be said to have presided; over the 
other, Florence. As the former broke up, Ernest was joined by 
Cleveland. 

"My dear cousin," said Florence, suddenly, and in a whisper, as she 
turned to Lumley, "your friend is speaking of me — I see it. Go, 1 
implore you, and let me know what he says ! " 

"The commission is not flattering," said Ferrers, almost sullenly. 

" Nay, a commission to gratify a woman's curiosity is ever one of 
the most flattering embassies with which we can invest an able 
negotiator." 

"Well, I must do your bidding, though I disown the favour." 
Ferrers moved away and joined Cleveland and Maltravers. 

" She is, indeed, beautiful : so perfect a contour I never beheld ; 
she is the only woman I ever saw in whom the aquiline features seem 
more classical than even the Greek." 

" So, that is your opinion of my fair cousin ! " cried Ferrers ; "you 
are caught." 

" I wish he were," said Cleveland. Ernest is now old enough to 
settle, and there is not a more dazzling prize in England — rich, high- 
born, lovely, and accomplished." 

" And what say you ?" asked Lumley, almost impatiently, to Mal- 
travers. 

" That I never saw one whom I admire more or could love less," 
replied Ernest, as he quitted the rooms. 

Ferrers looked after lim, and muttered to himself; he then rejoined 
Florence, who presently rose_ to depart, and taking Lumley's arm, 
said, " Well, I see my father is looking round for me — and so for once 
I will forestall him. Come, Lumley, let us join him ; I know he 
wants to see you." 

"Well," said Florence, blushing deeply, and almost breathless, as 
they crossed the now half-empty apartments. 

"Well, my cousin ?" 

"You provoke me — well, then, what- said your friend?" 

" That you deserved your reputation of beauty, but that you 
jot his style. Maltravers is in love, you know ?" 

"In love!" 



ERNEST MaLCKaVERS. 183 

" Yes, a pretty French woman ! quite romantic — an attachment of 
some years standing." 

Florence turned away her face, and said no more. 

" That's a good fellow, Lumley," said Lord Saxingham ; " Florence 
is never more welcome to my eyes than at half-past one o'clock a.m., 
when I associate her with thoughts of my natural rest, and my un- 
fortunate carriage-horses. By the bye, I wish you would dine with 
me next Saturday." 

" Saturday : unfortunately, I am engaged to my uncle." 

" Oh ! he has behaved handsomely to you?" 

"Yes." 

"Mrs. Templeton pretty well ?" 

"I fancy so.'* 

" As ladies wish to be, &c. ?" whispered his lordship. 

"No, thank Heaven!" 

"Well, if the old man could but make you his heir, we might think 
twice about the title." 

" My dear lord, stop ! one favour — write me a line to hint that 
delicately." 

" No — no letters ; letters always get into the papers." 

" But cautiously worded — no danger of publication, on my honour." 

"I'll think of it. Goodnight." 



L84 zairesT majltkavek*. 



BOOK VII. 



CHAPTER I. 

" Deceit is the strong but subtile chain which runs through all the members of 
jl society, anil links them together; trick or be tricked, is the alternative; 'tis the 
way of the world, and without it intercourse would drop." — Anonymous Writer 
1/1722. 

" A ioveiv child she was, of looks serene, 
And motions which o'er things indifferent shed 
The grace and gentleness from whence they came." 

Percy Bysshe Shelley. 

" His years but young, but his experience old." — Shakspeare. 

" He after honour hunts, I after love." — Ibid. 

Lumley Ferrers was one of the few men in the world who act upon 
a profound, deliberate, and organised system — he had done so even 
from a boy. When he was twenty-one, he had said to himself, 
"Youth is the season for enjoyment : the triumphs of manhood, the 
wealth cf age, do not compensate for a youth spent in unpleasurable 
toils." Agreeably to this maxim, he had resolved not to adopt any 
profession ; and being fond of travel, and of a restless temper, he had 
indulged abroad in all the gratifications that his moderate income 
could afford him : that income went farther on the Continent than at 
home, which was another reason for the prolongation of his travels. 
Now, when the whims and passions of youth were sated ; and, ripened 
by a consummate and various knowledge of mankind, his harder capa- 
cities of mind became developed and centred into such ambition as it 
w r as his nature to conceive, he acted no less upon a regular and me- 
thodical plan of conduct, which he carried into details. He had little 
or nothing within himself to cross his cold theories by contradictory 
practice ; for he was curbed by no principles, and regulated but by 
few tastes : and our tastes are often checks as powerful as our prin- 
ciples. Looking round the English world, Ferrers saw, that at his 
age and with an eqmvocal position, and no chances to throw away, it 
was necessary that he should cast off all attributes of the character 
of the wanderer and the garqon. 

" There is nothing respectable in lodgings and a cab," said Ferrers 
to himself— that "self" was his grand confidant! — "nothing sta- 
tionary. Such are the appliances of a here-to-day-gone-to-morrow 
kind of life. One never looks substantial till one pays rates and 
taxes, and has a bill with one's butcher !" 

Accordingly, without saying a word to anybody, Ferrers took » 



ERNEST MALTKAVEKe. 185 

long lease of a large house, in one of those quiet streets that proclaim 
the owners do not wish to be made by fashionable situations — streets 
in which, if you have a large house, rt is supposed to be because you 
can afford one. He was very particular in its being a respectable 
street — Great George Street, Westminster, was the one he selected. 

No frippery or baubles, common to the mansions of young bachelors 
— no bulil, and marquetrie, and Sevres china,_ and cabinet pictures, 
distinguished the large dingy drawing-rooms of Lumley Ferrers. He 
bought all the old furniture a bargain of the late tenant — tea-coloured' 
chintz curtains, and chairs and sofas that were venerable and solemn 
with the accumulated dust of twenty-five years. The only things 
about which he was particular were a very long dining-table that 
would hold four-and-twenty, and a new mahogany sideboard. Some- 
body asked him why he cared about such articles. " I don't know," 
said he, " but I observe all respectable family-men do — there must be 
something in it — I shall discover the secret by-and-by." 

In this house did Mr. Ferrers ensconce himself with, two middle- 
aged maid-servants, and a man out of livery, whom he chose from a 
multitude of candidates, because the man looked especially well fed. 

Having thus settled himself, and told every one that the lease of 
his house was for sixty-three years, Lumley Ferrers made a little 
calculation of his probable expenditure, which he found, with good' 
management, might amount to about one-fourth more than his income. 

" I shall take the surplus out of my capital," said he, " and try the 
experiment for five years ; if it don't do, and pay me profitably, why 
then either men are not to be lived upon, or Lumley Ferrers is a much 
duller dog than he thinks himself!" 

Mr. Fen-ers had deeply studied the character of his uncle, as a 
prudent speculator studies the qualities of a mine in which he means 
to invest lus capital, and much of his present proceedings was in- 
tended to act upon the uncle as well as upon the world. He sav 
that the more he could obtain for himself, not a noisy, social, fashion- 
able reputation, but a good, sober, substantial one, the more highly 
Mr. Templeton would consider him, and the more likely he was to be 
made his uncle's heir, — that is, provided Mrs. Templeton did not 
supersede the nepotal parasite by indigenous olive-branches. This 
last apprehension died away as time passed, and no signs of fertility 
appeared. And, accordingly, Ferrers thought he might prudently 
hazard more upon the game on which he now ventured to rely. There- 
was one thing, however, that greatly disturbed his peace; Mr. Tem- 
pleton, though harsh and austere in his manner to his wife, was 
evidently attached to her ; and, above all, he cherished the fondest 
affection for his daughter-in-law. He was as anxious for her health, 
her education, her little childish, enjoyments, as if he had been not 
only her parent but a very doting one. He could not bear her to be 
crossed or thwarted. Mr. Templeton, who had never spoiled any- 
thing before, not even an old pen (so careful, and calculating, and. 
methodical was he), did his best to spoil this beautiful child, whom 
lie could not even have the vain luxury of thinking he had produced, 
to the admiring world. Softly, exquisite.y lovely was that httic girl ; 
and every day she increased in the charn of her person, and in the 



MS JSKNJLST JUALTKAVEKS. 

caressing fasciuation of licr childish ways. Her temper was so sweet 
and docile, that fondness and petting, however injudiciously exliibited, 
only seemed yet more to bring out the colours of a grateful and tender 
nature. Perhaps the measured kindness of more reserved affection 
might have been the true way of spoiling one whose instincts were 
sail for exacting and returning love. She was a plant that suns less 
warm might have nipped and chilled. 13ut beneath an uncapricious 
and unclouded sunshme she sprang up in a luxurious bloom of heart 
and sweetness of disposition. 

Every one, even those who did not generally like children, delighted 
m. this charming creature, excepting only Mr. Lumley Ferrers. But 
that gentleman, less mild than Pope's Narcissa, — 

" To make a wash, had gladly stewed the child ! " 

He had seen how very common it is for a rich man, married late in 
life, to leave everything to a young widow and her children by her 
former marriage, when once attached to the latter ; and lie sensibly 
felt that he himself had but a slight hold over Templeton by the chain 
of the affections. He resolved, therefore, as much as possible, to 
alienate his uncle from his young wife ; trusting, that as the influence 
of the wife was weakened, that of the child would be lessened also ; 
and to raise in Templeton's vanity and ambition an ally that might 
supply to himself the want of love. He pursued his twofold scheme 
with masterly art and address. He first sought to secure the confi- 
dence and regard of the melancholy and gentle mother ; and in this — 
for she was peculiarly unsuspicious and inexperienced, — he obtained 
signal and complete success. His frankness of manner, his deferential 
attention, the art with which he warded off from her the spleen or 
ill-humour of Mr. Templeton, the cheerfulness that Ins easy gaiety 
threw over a very gloomy house, made the poor lady hail Ins visits 
and trust in his friendship. Perhaps she was glad of any interruption 
to tete-a-tetes with a severe and ungenial husband, who had no sym- 
pathy for the sorrows, of whatever nature they might be, which preyed 
upon her, and who made it a point of morality to find fault wherever 
he could. 

The next step in Lumley's policy was to arm Templeton's vanity 
against bis wife, by constantly refreshing his consciousness of the 
sacrifices he had made by marriage, and the certainty that he would 
have attained all his wishes had he chosen more prudently. By per- 
petually, but most judiciously, rubbing this sore point, he, as it were, 
fixed the irritability into Templeton's constitution, and it reacted on 
all his thoughts, aspiring or domestic. Still, however, to Lumley's 
great surprise and resentment, while Templeton cooled to his wife, he 
only warmed to her child. Lumley had not calculated enough upon 
the thirst and craving for affection in most human hearts ; and Tem- 
pleton, though not exactly an amiable man, had some excellent quali- 
ties: if he had less sensitively regarded the opinion of the world, he 
would neither have contracted the vocabulary of cant, nor sickened 
for a peerage — both his affectation of saintship, and his gnawing desire 
i f rank, arose from an extraordinary and morbid deference to opinion, 



EllNEST MA.LTRAVERS. 187 

f.nd a wish for worldly honours and respect, which he felt that his 
mere talents could not secure to him. But he was, at bottom, a 
kindly man — charitable to the poor, considerate to his servants, and 
had within him the want to love and be loved, which is one of the 
desires wherewith the atoms of the universe are cemented and har- 
monised. Had Mrs. Templeton evinced love to Mm, he mitrht have 
defied ;dl Lumley's diplomacy, been consoled for worldly disadvan- 
tages, and been a good and even uxorious husband. But she evidently 
did not love him, though an admirable, patient, provident wife ; and 
her daughter did love him — love him as well even as she loved her 
mother ; and the hard worldling would not have accepted a kingdom 
as the price of that little fountain of pure and ever-refreshing tender- 
ness. Wise and penetrating as Lumley was, he never could thoroughly 
understand this weakness, as he called it • for wc never know men 
entirely, unless we have complete sympathies with men in all their 
natural emotions; and Nature had left the workmanship of Lumley 
Ferrers unfinished and incomplete, by denying him the possibility of 
caring for anything but himself. 

His plan for w r inniug Templeton's esteem and deference .was, how- 
ever, completely triumphant. He took care that nothing in his 
menage should appear " extravagant ;" all was sober, quiet, and well- 
regulated. He declared that hie had so managed as to live within his 
income ; and Templeton receiving no hint for money, nor aware that 
Ferrers had on the Continent consumed a considerable portion of Ids 
means, believed him. Ferrers gave a great many dinners, but he did 
not go ou that foolish plan which has been laid down by persons wno 
pretend to know life, as a means of popularity — he did not profess to 
give dinners better than other people. He knew that, unless you are 
a very rich or a very great man, no folly is equal to that of thinking 
that you soften the hearts of your friends by soups a la bisque, and 
Johannisbcrg at a guinea a bottle ! They all go away, saying, "What 

right has that d d fellow to give a better dinner than we do? 

What horrid taste ! What ridiculous presumption !" 

No ; though rerrers himself was a most scientific epicure, and held 
the luxury of the palate at the highest possible price, he dieted his 
friends on what he termed " respectable fare." His cook put plenty 
of flour into the oyster sauce ; cod's-head and shoulders made his in- 
variable fish ; and four entrees, without flavour or pretence, were duly 
supplied by the pastrycook, and carefully eschewed by the host. 
Neither did Mr. Ferrers affect to bring about him gay wits and bril- 
liant talkers. He confined himself to men of substantial consideration, 
and generally took care to be himself the cleverest person present ; 
whde he turned the conversation on serious matters crammed for the 
occasion — politics, stocks, commerce, and the criminal code. Pruning 
his gaiety, though he retained his frankness, he sought to be known 
as a highly-informed, painstaking man, who would oe sure to rise. 
His connections, and a certain nameless charm about him, consisting 
chiefly in a pleasant countenance, a bold yet winning candour, ana 
the absence of all hauteur ox pretence, enabled him to assemble round 
this plain table, which, if it gratified no taste, wounded no self-love, a 
BuH'eipTi' EUTr.ber cf public men of rank, and eminent men of business, 



188 J5.BX.EST MAijilvAVEKs. 

to answer his purpose. The situation he had chosen, so near the 
Houses of Parliament, was convenient to politicians, and, by degrees, 
the large dingy drawing-rooms became a frequent resort for public 
men to talk over those thousand underplots by which a party is served 
or attacked. Thus, though not in parliament himself, 1 errors became 
insensibly associated with parliamentary men and things ; and tho 
ministerial party, whose poKtics he espoused, praised nim highly, 
made use of him, and meant, some day or other, to do something for 
him. > 

While the career of this able and unprincipled man thus opened — 
and of course the opening was not made in a day — Ernest Maltravers 
was ascending, by a rough, thorny, and encumbered path, to that 
eminence on which the monuments of men are built. His success in 
public life was not brilliant nor sudden. Tor, though he had eloquence 
and knowledge, he disdained all oratorical devices ; and though he had 
passion and energy, he could scarcely be called a warm partisan. He 
.net with much envy s and many obstacles- and the gracious and 
buoyant sociality of temper and manners, that had, in earlv youth, 
made him the idol of his contemporaries at school or college, had long 
since faded away into a cold, settled, and lofty, though gentle reserve, 
which did not attract towards him the animal spirits of the herd. 
But though he spoke seldom, and heard many, with half his powers, 
more enthusiastically cheered, he did not fail of commanding attention 
and respect ; and though no darling of cliques and parties, yet in that 
great body of the people who were ever the audience and tribunal to 
which, in letters or in politics, Maltravers appealed, there was silently 
growing up, and spreading wide, a belief in his upright intentions, his 
unpurchasable honour, and his correct and well-considered views. 
He _ felt that his name was safely invested, though the return for the 
capital was slow and moderate. He was contented to abide his 
time. 

Every day he grew more attached to that only true philosophy 
which makes a man, as far as the world will permit, a world to him- 
self ; and from the height of a tranquil and serene self-esteem, he felt 
the sun shine above Mm, when malignant clouds spread, sullen and 
ungenial below. He did not despise or wilfully shock opinion, neither 
did he fawn upon and flatter it. Where he thought the world should 
be humoured, he humoured — where contemned, he contemned it. 
There are many cases in which an honest, well-educated, high-hearted 
individuals a much better iudge than the multitude of what is right 
and what is wrong ; and in these matters he is not worth three straws 
if he suffer the multitude to bully or coax him out of his judgment. 
The Public, if you indulge it, is a most damnable gossip, thrusting 
its nose into _ people's concerns, where it has no right to make or 
meddle ; and in those things, where the Public is impertinent, Mal- 
travers scorned and resisted its interference as haughtily as he would 
the interference of any insolent member of the insolent whole. It 
was this mixture of deep_ love and profound respect for the eternal 
people, and of calm passionless disdain for that capricious charlatan. 
the momentary public, which made Ernest Maltravers an original 
and solitary thinker ; and an actor, in reality modest and benevolent. 



ERNEST MALTliAVERB. 189 

in appearance arrogant and unsocial. " Pauperism, in contradis- 
tinction to poverty," he was wont to say, " is the dependence upon 
other people for existence, not on our own exertions; there is a 
moral pauperism in the man who is dependent on others for that 
support of moral life— self-respect." 

u rapped in this philosophy, he pursued his haughty and lonesome 
way, ami felt that in the deep heart of mankind, when prejudices and 
envies should die off, there would be a sympathy with his motives 
and his career. So far as his own health was concerned, the experi- 
ment had answered. No mere drudgery of business— late hours and 
dull speeches — can produce the dread exhaustion which follows the 
efforts of the soul to mount into the higher air of severe thought or 
intense imagination. Those faculties which had been overstrained 
now lay fallow — and the frame rapidly regained its tone. Of private 
comfort and inspiration Ernest knew but little. He gradually grew 
estranged from nis old friend Ferrers, as their habits became opposed. 
Cleveland lived more and more in the country, and was too well 
satisfied with his quondam pupil's course of life and progressive 
reputation to trouble him with exhortation or advice. Cesarhii had 
grown a literary lion, whose genius was vehemently lauded by all the 
reviews — on the same principle as that which induces us to praise 
foreign singers or dead men;— we must praise something, and wt 
don't like to praise those who jostle ourselves. Cesarini liad there- 
fore grown prodigiously conceited — swore that England was the only 
countrv for true merit, and no longer concealed his jealous anger at 
the wider celebrity of Maltravers. Ernest saw him squandering away 
his substance, and prostituting his talents to drawing-room trifles, 
with a compassionate sigh. _He sought to warn him, but Cesarini 
listened to him with such impatience that he resigned the office of 
monitor. He wrote to De Montaigne, who succeeded no better. 
Cesarini was bent on playing his own game. And to one game, without 
a metaphor, he had at last come. His craving for excitement vented 
itself at Hazard, and his remaining guineas melted daily away. 

But De Montaigne's letters to Maltravers consoled him for the 
loss of less congenial friends. The Frenchman was now an eminent 
and celebrated man ; and his appreciation of Maltravers was sweeter 
to tie latter than would have Deen the huzzas of crowds. But, all' 
this while, his vanity was pleased and his curiosity roused by the 
continued correspondence of his unseen Egeria. That correspondence 
(if so it may be called, being all on one side) had. now gone on for a 
considerable time, and he was still wholly unable to discover the 
author : its tone had of late altered — it had become more sad and 
subdued — it spoke of the hollowness as well as the rewards of fame ; 
and, with a touch of true womanly sentiment, often hinted more at 
the rapt ire of soothing dejection, than of sharing triumph. In all 
these letters, there was the undeniable evidence of high intellect and 
deep feeling ; they excited a strong and keen interest in Maltravers, 
yet the interest was not that which made him wish to discover, in 
order that he might love, the writer. They were for the most part 
too full of the irony and bitterness of a man's spirit, to fascinate one 
who considered that gentleness was the essence of a woman's strength. 



190 ERNEST itAI/TKAVEKS. 

Temper spoke in them, no less than mind and heart, and it was not 
the sort of temper which a man who loves women to be womanly 
could admire. 

" I hear you often spoken of" (ran one of these strange epistles), 
" and I am almost equally angry whether fools presume to praise or to 
blame you. This miserable world we live in, how I loathe and disdain 
it ! — yet I desire you to serve and to master it ! Weak contradiction, 
efieminate parados. ! Oh ! rather a thousand times that you would fly 
from its mean temptations and poor rewards ! — if the desert were 
your dwelling-place and you wished one minister, I could renounce 

all — wealth, flattery, repute, womanhood — to serve you. 

* * * -» « « * 

" I once admired you for your genius. My disease has fastened on 
me, and I now almost worship you for j'ourself. I have seen you, 
Ernest Maltravers, — seen you often, — and when you never suspected 
that these eyes were on you. Now that I have seen, I understand 
you better. We cannot judge men by their books and deeds. Pos- 
terity can know nothing of the beings of the past. A thousand books 
never written — a thousand deeds never done — are in the eyes and 
lips of the few greater than the herd. In that cold, abstracted gaze, 
that pale and haughty brow, I read the disdain of obstacles, wluch is 
worthy of one who is confident of the goal. But my eyes fill with 
tears when I survey you ! — you are sad, you are alone ! If failures do 
not mortify you, success does not elevate. Oh, Maltravers, I, woman 
as I am, and living in a narrow circle, I, even I, know at last, that to 
have desires nobler, and ends more august, than others, is but to 
surrender waking life to morbid and melancholy dreams. 

v =& ?,; v> -£ -& -s- 

" Go more into the world, Maltravers — go more into the world, or 
quit it altogether. Your enemies must be met: they accumulate, 
they grow strong — you are too tranquil, too slow in your steps 
towards the prize which should be yours, to satisfy my impatience, to 
satisfy your iriends. Be less refined in your ambition, that you may 
be more immediately useful. The feet of clay, after all, are the 
swiftest in the race. Even Lumley Ferrers will outstrip you if you 

do not take heed. 

* * * «• * * * 

" Why do I run on thus ! — you— you love another, yet you are not 
less the ideal that I could love — if I ever loved any one. You lore— 
and vet— well— no matter." 



KttNESl M Vl.TK.VVEUa. 101 



CHAPTER II. 

" Well, but this is being only an official nobleman. No matter, 'tis still being a 
nobleman, and that's his aim." — Anonymous Writer of 1772. 

" La musique est le seul des talens qui jouissent de lui-rnemc ; tous les autrcs 
veulent des temoins."* — Marmontkl. 

" Thus the slow ox would gaudy trappings claim." — Horace. 

Mr. Templeton had not obtained his peerage, and, though he 
had met with no direct refusal, nor made even a direct application to 
head-quarters, he was growing sullen. He had great parliamentary- 
influence, not close borough, illegitimate influence, but very proper 
orthodox influence of character, wealth, and so forth. He could 
return one member at least for a city — he could almost return one 
member for a county, and in three boroughs any activity on his part 
could turn the scale in a close contest. The ministers were strong, 
but still they could not afford to lose supporters hitherto zealous — 
the example of desertion is contagious. In the town which Templeton 
had formerly represented, and wliich he now almost commanded, 
a vacancy suddenly occurred — a candidate started on the opposition 
side and commenced a canvas ; to the astonishment and panic of the 
Secretary of the Treasury, Templeton put forward no one, and his 
interest remained dormant. Lord Saxingham hurried to Lumley. 

" My dear fellow, what is this ? — what can your uncle be about ? 
We shall lose this place — one of our strongholds. Bets run even." 

'* Why, you sec, you have ail behaved very ill to my uncle — I am 
really sorry for it, but I can do nothing." 

" AMiat, this confounded peerage ! Will that content him, and 
nothing short of it ? " 

"Nothing." 

" He must have it, by Jove ! " 

"And even that may come too late." 

"Ha! do you think so?" 

" Will you leave the matter to me ? " 

" Certainly — you are a monstrous clever fellow, and we all esteem 
you." 

" Sit down and write as I dictate, my dear lord." 

"Well," said Lord Saxingham, seating himself at Lumley's enor- 
mous wnting-table — " well, go on." 

" My dear Mr. Templeton " 

" Too familiar," said Lord Saxingham. 

"Not a bit: go on." 

" My dear Mr. Templeton ; 

" We are anxious to secure your parliamentary influence in C to 

* Music is the sole talent which gives pleasure of itself; all the othen raquir* 



192 ERNEST MAf/TBAVETtS. 

the proper quarter, namely to your own family, as the best defenders of 
the administration, which you honour by your support. We wish sig- 
nally, at the same time, to express our confidence in your principles, am 
our gratitude for your countenance" 

"D — d sour countenance ! " muttered Lord Saxingham. 

" Accordingly," continued Ferrers, " as one whose connection with 
you permits the liberty, allow me to request that you will suffer our 
joint relation, Mr. Ferrers, to be put into immediate nomination" 

Lord Saxingham threw down the pen and laughed for two minutes 
without ceasing. " Capital, Lumley, capital ! — -Very odd I did not 
think of it before." 

" Each man for himself, and God for us all," returned Lumley, 
gravely : " pray go on, my dear lord." 

" We are sure you could not liave a representative that rcould more 
.faithfully reflect your own opinions and our interests. One word more. 
A creation of peers will probably take place in the spring, among which I 
am sure your name would be to his Majesty a gratifying addition ; the 
title will of course be secured to your sons — and failing the latter, to 
your nephew. 

" With great regard and respect, 

" Truly yours, 

" Saxingham." 

" There, inscribe that ' Private and confidential,' and send it 
express to my uncle's villa." 

It shall be done, my dear Lumley — and this contents me as much 
as it does you. You are really a man to do us credit. You think it 
will be arranged ? " 

"No doubt of it." 

" Well, good day. Lumley, come to me when it is all settled : 
Florence is always glad to see you ; she says no one amuses her more. 
And I am sure that is rare praise, for she is a strange girl, — quite a 
Timon in petticoats." 

Away went Lord Saxingham. 

" Florence glad to see me ! " said Lumley, throwing his arms behind 
him, and striding to and fro the room — " Scheme the Second begins 
to smile upon me behind the advancing shadow of Scheme One. If I 
can but succeed in keeping away other suitors from my fair cousin 
until I am in a condition to propose myself, why I may carry off the 
greatest match in the three kingdoms. Courage, mon brave Ferrers,, 
courage /" 

It was late that evening when Ferrers arrived at his uncle's villa. 
He found Mrs. Templeton in the drawing-room seated at the piano. 
He entered gently; she did not hear hrm, and continued at the 
instrument. Her voice was so sweet and rich, her taste so pure, 
that Ferrers, who was a good judge of music, stood in delighted sur- 
prise. Often as he had now been a visitor, even an inmate, at the 
house, he had never before heard Mrs. Templeton play any but sacred 
airs, and this was one of the popular songs of sentiment. He perceived 
that her feeling at last overpowered her voice, and she paused abruptly, 



EiiNEsr MAi/nu vEUa. 193 

and turning round, her face was so eloquent of emotion, that Ferrers 
was forcibly struck by its expression. He was not a man apt to feel 
curiosity for anytlung not immediately concerning himself; but he 
did feel curious about this melancholy and beautiful woman. There 
was in her usual aspect that inexpressible look of profound resignation 
which betokens a lasting remembrance of a bitter past : a prematurely 
blighted heart spoke in her eyes, her smile, her languid and joyless 
step. But she performed the routine of her quiet duties with a calm 
and conscientious regularity which showed that grief rather depressed 
than disturbed her thoughts. If her burden were heavy, custom 
seemed to have reconciled her to bear it without repining ; and the 
emotion which Ferrers now traced in her soft and harmonious features 
was of a nature he had only once witnessed before — viz., on the first 
night he had seen her, when poetry, which is the key of memory 
had evidently opened a chamber haunted by mournful and troubled 
ghosts. 

" Ah ! dear madam," said Ferrers, advancing, as he found himself 
discovered, " I trust I do not disturb you. My visit is unseasonable ; 
but my uncle — where is he ?" 

" He has been in town all the morning ; he said he should dine out, 
and I now expect him every minute." 

" You have been endeavouring to charm aw?y the sense of his 
absence. Dare I ask you to continue to play ? It is seldom that I 
hear a voice so sweet, and skill so consummate, fou must have been, 
instructed by the best Italian masters." 

" No," said Mrs. Templeton, with a very slight colour in her delicate 
chri;k — "I learned young, and of one who loved music and felt it ; but 
who was not a foreigner." 

" Will you sing me that song again ? — you give the words - 
oeauty I never discovered in them ; yet they (as well as the musi 
itself) are by my poor friend whom Mr. Templeton does not like- 
Maltravers." 

" Are they his also?" said Mrs. Templeton, with emotion; "it i ' 
strange I did not know it. I heard the air in the streets, and it struci : 
me much. I inquired the name of the song and bought it — it is verjv 
strange ! " 

"Wbat is strange?" 

" That there is a kind of language in your friend's music and poetry 
which comes home to me, like words I have heard years ago ! Is he 
young, this Mr. Maltravers?" 

" les, he is still vouns." 

" And, and " 

Here Mrs. Templeton was interrupted by the entrance of her 
husband. He held the letter from Lord Saxingham — it was yet 
unopened. He seemed moody ; but that was common with him. He 
coldly shook hands with Lumley, nodded to his wife, found fault with 
the fire, and throwing himself into his easy-chair, said, " So, Lumley, 
I think I was a fool for taking your advice — and hanging back aboui 
this new election. I see by the evening papers that there is shortly 
to be a creation of peers. If I had shown activity on oehalf of the 
government I might have shamed than into gratitude-" 



i94 EB.NEST MAiTKAVEES. 

" I thi nk 1 was right, sir," replied Lumley; "public men are often 
alarmed into gratitud?, seldom shamed into it. Firm votes, like old 
friends, are most vahld when we think we are about to lose them; 
but what is that lettcii- in your hand ?" 

" Oh, some begging petition, I suppose." 

" Pardon me— it has an official look.'' 

Templeton put on his spectacles, raised the letter, examined the 
address and seal, hastily opened it, and broke into an exclamation 
very like an oath : when he had concluded — " Give me your hand, 
nephew — the thing is settled — I am to have the peerage. You were 
right — ha, ha ! — my dear wife, you will be my lady, think of that— 
arn't you glad? — why don't your ladyship smile ? Where's the child 
— where is she, I say?" 

" Gone to bed, sir," said Mrs. Templeton, half frightened. 

_" Gone to bed ! I must go and kiss her. Gone to bed, has she ? 
Light that candle, Lumley." [Here Mr. Templeton rang the bell.] 
" John," said he, as the servant entered, — " John, tell James to go the 
first thing in the morning to Baxter's, and tell him not to paint 
my chariot till he hears from me. I must go kiss the child — I must, 
really." 

_ " D the child," muttered Lumley, as after giving the candle to 

his uncle, he turned to the fire ; " what the deuce has she got to do 
with the matter ? Charming little girl — yours, madam ! how I love 
her ! My uncle dotes on her — no wonder ! " 

" He is, indeed, very, very fond of her," said Mrs. Templeton, with 
a sigh that seemed to come from the depth of her heart. 

" Did he take a fancy to her before you were married ?" 

" Yes, I believe — oh yes, certainly." 

" Her own father could not be more fond of her." 

Mrs. Templeton made no answer, but lighted her candle, and wishing 
Lumley good night, glided from the room. 

" I wonder if my grave aunt and my grave uncle took a bite at the 
apple before they bought the right of the tree. It looks suspicious; 
yet no, it can't be ; there is nothing of the seducer or the seductive 
about the old fellow. It is not likely — here he comes." 

In came Templeton, and his eyes were moist, and his brow 
relaxed. 

" And how is the little angel, sir ?" asked Ferrers. 

" She kissed me, though I woke her up ; children are usually cross 
when wakened." 

" Are they ? — little dears ! Well, sir, so I was right, then ; may I 
see the letter?" 

" There it is." 

Ferrers drew liis chair to the fire,, and read his own production with 
all the satisfaction of an anonymous author. 

" How kind ! — how considerate ! — how delicately put !— a double 
favour ! But perhaps, after all, it does not express your wishes." 

" In what way?" 

" Why— why— about myself." 

" You ! — is there anything about you in it ? — 1 did not observe thai 
-let me see." 



ERNEST MALTKAVEKS. 195 

" Uncles never tcliish !— mem. fur common place-book ! " thought 
Ferrers. 

The uncle but his brows as he reperuscd 1 lie letter. " This won't 
do, Lumley," said he, very shortly, when he had done. 

" A seat in parliament is too much honour for a poor nephew, then, 
sir !" said Lumley, very bitterly, though he did not feel at ah bitter; 
but it was the proper tone—" I have done all in my power to advance 
your ambition, and you will not even lend a hand to forward me 
one steji in my career. Bui, forgive me, sir, I have no right to 
expect it." 

"' Lumley ! " replied Templeton, kindly, " you mistake me. I think 
much more highly of you than I did— much: there is a steadiness, a 
sobriety about you most praiseworthy, and you shall go into parliament 

it' you wish it ; but not for C . I will give my interest there to 

some other friend of the government, and in return they can give you 
a treasury borough ! That is the same thing to you." 

Lumley was aareeably surprised — he pressed his uncle's hand 
warmly, and thanked him cordially. Mr. Templeton proceeded to 
explain to him that it was inconvenient and expensive, sitting for 
places where one's family was known, and Lumley fully subscribed 
to all. 

" As for the settlement of the peerage, that is all right," said 
Templeton ; and then he sunk into a reverie, from which he broke 
joyously — " yes, that is all right. I have projects, objects — this may 
unite them all — nothing can be better — you will be the next lord — 
what — I say, what title shall we have ?" 

" Oh, take a sounding one — you have very little landed property, I 
think?" 

" Two thousand a year in shire, bought a bargain." 

" What's the name of the place ?" 

" Grubley." 

" Lord Grubley ! — Baron Grubley of Grubley — oh, atrocious ! Who 
had the place before you?" 

" Bought it of Mr. Sheepshanks — very old family." 

" But surely some old Norman once had the place?" 

" Norman, yes ! Henry the Second gave it to his barber — Bertram 
Courval." 

" That's it !— thaf s it ! — Lord de Courval — singular coincidence ! — 
descent from the old line. Heralds' College soon settle all that. 
Lord de Courval ! — nothing can sound better. There must be a village 
or hamlet still called Courval about the property." 

" I am afraid not. There is Coddle End!" 

" Coddle End ! — Coddle End !— the very thing, sir— the very thing 
— dear corruption from Courval! — Lord de Courval of Courval! 
Superb! Hal ha!" 

Ha ! ha ! " laughed Templeton, and he had hardly laughed before 
since he was thirty. 

The relations sat long and conversed familiarly. Ferrers slept at 
the villa, and his sleep was sound, for he thought little of plans once 
formed and half executed ; it was the hunt that kept him awake, and 
be slept like a hound when the prey was down. Not so Templeton, 

o2 



196 ERNEST MALTRaVEIIS. 

who did not close his eyes all night. — "Yes, yes," thought he, "1 
must get the fortune and the title in one line, hy a prudent manage- 
ment, Ferrers deserves what I mean to do for him. Steady, good- 
natured, frank, and mil get on — yes, yes, I see it all. Meanwhile 1 

did well to prevent his standing for C ; might pick up gossip 

about Mrs. T., and other tilings that might be unpleasant. Ah, I'm 
a shrewd fellow ! " 



CHAPTER HI. 

•' Lauxun. — There, Marquis, there, I've done it. 
tlontespan. — Done it ! yes I Ni«.»e doings ! " 

The Duchess de la Valliere. 

IiUMiEY b">stened to strike while the iron was hot. The next 
morning he went straight to the Treasury — saw the managing secre- 
tary, a clever, sharp man, who, like Ferrers, carried off intrigue and 
manoeuvre by a blunt, careless, bluff manner. 

Ferrers announced that he was to stand for the free, respectable, 

open city of C , with an electoral population of 2,500 — a very 

showy place it was for a member in the old ante-reform times, and 
was considered a thoroughly independent borough. The secretary 
congratulated and complimented him. 

" We have had losses lately in our elections among the larger 
constituencies," said Lumley. 

" We have indeed — three towns lost in the last six months. Mem- 
bers do die so very unseasonably !" 

" Is Lord Staunch yet provided for?" asked Lumley. Now Lord 
Staunch was one of the popular show-fight great guns of the adminis- 
tration — not in office, but that most useful person to all governments, 
an out-and-out supporter upon the most independent principles — who 
was known to have refused place, and to value nimself on independence 
—a man who helped the government over the stile when it was seized 
with a temporary lameness, and who carried " great weight with him 
in the country." Lord Staunch had foolishly thrown up a close 
borough in order to contest a large city, and brd failed in the attempt. 
His failure was everywhere cited as a proof oi the growing unpopu- 
larity of ministers. 

" Is Lord Staunch yet provided for?" asked Lumley. 
_ " Why, he must have his old seat — Three-Oaks. Three-Oaks is a 
nice, quiet little place ; most respectable constituency — all Staunch's 
own family." 

" Just the thing for him ; yet, 'tis a pity that he did not wait 

to stand for C ■; my uncle's interest would have secured 

him." 

" Ay, I thought so the moment C— ■ was vacant. However, it 

is too late now." 

" It would be a great triumph if Lord Staunch could show that a 
large constituency volunteered to elect him without expense." 



ERNEST MALTB.AVMIS. 197 

M Without expense ! — Ah, yes, indeed ! — It would prove that purity 
of election still exists — that British institutions are still upheld." 

" It might be done, Mr. " 

'• Why, I thought that you " 

" Were to stand— that is true — and it will be difficult to manage my 
uncle ; but he loves me much — you know I am his heir — I believe I 
could do it ; that is, if you think it would be a very great advantage to 
tin- party, and a very great service to the government." 

"Why, Mr. Ferrers, it would indeed be both." 

" And in that case I could have Three-Oaks." 

" I see — exactly so; but to give up «o respectable a seat — really it 
is a sacrifice." 

" Sav no more, it shall be done. A deputation shall wait on Lord 
Stauncn directly. I will see my uncle, and a despatch shall be sent 
down to C— — to night ; at least, I hope so. I must not be too con- 
fident. My uncle is an old man, nobody but myself can manage him ; 
I'll go this instant," 

" You may be sure your kindness will be duly appreciated." 

Lumley shook hands cordially with the secretary, and retired. The 
secretary -was not " humbugged," nor did Lumley expect he should 
be. But the secretary noted this of Lumley Ferrers (and that gen- 
tleman's object was gained), that Lumley Ferrers was a man who 
looked out for office, and if he did tolerably well in parliament, that 
Lumley Ferrers was a man who ought to he pushed. 

Very shortly afterwards, the Gazette announced the election of 

Lord Staunch for C , after a sharp but decisive contest. The 

ministerial journals rang with exulting pseans; the opposition ones 

called the electors of C all manner of hard names, and declared 

that Mr. Stout, Lord Staunch's opponent, would petition; which he 
never did. In the midst of the hubbub, Mr. Lumley Ferrers quietly 
<uid unobservedly arept into the representation of Three-Oaks. 

On the ni^ht of Ins election, lie went to Lord Saxingham's ; but 
what there happened deserves another chapter. 



198 



EENEST MALTRAVERS. 



CHAPTER IY. 



" Je connois des princes du sang, des prances etrangers.. des grands seigneurs 
des ministrss d'etat, des magistrats, et des philosophes qui fileroient pour l'araour 
de vous. En pouvez-vous demander davantage?"* — Lettres de Madame de 
Sevigne'. 

" Lindore. I 1 believe it will choke me. I'm in love. * * * 

Now hold your tongue. Hold your tongue, I say. 
" Vainer. You in loye ' Ha ! ha ! 
" Lind. There, he laughs. 
" Dal. No ; I am really sorry for you."— German Play (False Delicacy). 

* * * "What is here? 

Gold." — SUAKSPEAKZ. 

It happened that that evening Maltravers had, for the first time, 
accepted one of many invitations with which Lord Saxingham had 
honoured him. His lordship and Maltravers were of different political 
parties, nor were they in other respects adapted to each other. Lord 
Saxingham was a clever man in nis way, but worldly even to a pro- 
verb among worldly people. That " man was born to walk erect and 
look upon the stars," is an eloquent fallacy that Lord Saxingham 
might suffice to disprove. He seemed bom to walk with a stoop; 
and if he ever looked upon any stars, they were those which go -with a 
garter. Though of celebrated and historical ancestry, great rank, and 
some personal reputation, he had all the ambition of a parvenu. He 
had a strong regard for office, not so much from the sublime affection 
for that sublime thing, — power over the destinies of a glorious nation, 
as because it added to that vulgar thing — importance in his own set. 
He looked on his cabinet uniform as a beadle looks on his gold lace. 
He also liked patronage, secured good things to distant connections, 
got on his family to the remotest degree of relationship ; in short, he 
was of the earth, earthy. He did not comprehend Maltravers ; and 
Maltravers, who every day grew prouder and prouder, despised him. 
Still Lord Saxingham was told that Maltravers was a rising man, and 
he thought it well to be civil to rising men, tf whatever party; Be- 
sides, his vanity was flattered by having men who are talked of in his 
train. He was too busy and too great a personage to think Maltravers 
could be other than sincere, when he declared himself, in his notes, 
"very sorry," or "much concerned," to forego the honour of diningwith 
Lord Saxingham on the, &c. &c; and therefore continued his invi- 
tations, till Maltravers, from that fatality which undoubtedly regulates 
and controls us, at last accepted the proffered distinction. 

He arrived late — most of the guests were assembled; and, after ex- 
changing a few words with his host, Ernest fell back into the general 

* I know princes of the blood, foreign princes, great lords, ministers of state, 
magistrates, and philosophers who would even spin for love of you. What can > r oo 
ask more ? 



KIINEST MALTRAVERR. 199 

f-oup, and found liimself in the immediate neighbourhood of Lady 
lorence L;iscclles. This lady had never much pleased Maltravers, 
for he was not fond of mascidine or coquettish neroincs, and Lady 
Florence seemed to him to merit both epithets ; therefore, though he 
had met her often since the first day he nad been introduced to her, 
he had usually contented himself -with a distant bow or a passing saluta- 
tion. But now, as he turned round and saw her — she was, for a miracle, 
sitting alone— and in her most dazzling and noble countenance there 
was so evident an appearance of ill-health, that he was struck and 
touched by it. In fact, beautiful as she was, both in face and form, 
there was something in the eye and the bloom of Lady Florence, which 
a skilful physician would have seen with prophetic pain. And, when- 
ever occasional illness paled the roses of the cheek, and sobered the 
play of the lips, even an ordinary observer would have thought of the 
old commonplace proverb — " that the brightest beauty has the 
briefest life." It was some sentiment of this kind, perhaps, that now 
awakened the sympathy of Maltravers. He addressed her with more 
marked courtesy than usual, and took a seat by her side. 

" You have been to the House, I suppose, Mr. Maltravers?" said 
Lady Florence. 

" Yes, for a short t ime ; it is not one of our field nights — no divsion 
was expected; and by this tune, I dare say, the House has been 
counted out." 

"Do you like the life?" 

" It has excitement," said Maltravers, evasively. 

" And the excitement is cf a noble character ? " 

" Scarcely so, I fear — it is so made up of mean and malignant mo- 
tives, — there is in it so much jealousy of our friends, so much unfair- 
ness to our enemies ; — such readiness to attribute to others the basest 
objects, — such willingness to avail ourselves of the poorest stratagems ! 
— The ends may be great ? but the means are very ambiguous." 

" I knew you would leel this," exclaimed Lady Florence, with a 
heightened colour. 

" Did you ? " said Maltravers, rather interested as well as surprised. 
" I scarcely imagined it possible that you would deign to divine 
secrets so insignilicant." 

" You did not do me justice, then," returned Lady Florence, with an 
arch yet half -painful smile; "for — but I was about to be impertinent." 

"Nay, say on." 

" For — then — I do not imagine you to be one apt to do injustice to 
yourself." 

" Oh ! you consider me presumptuous and arrogant ; but that is 
common report, and you do right, perhaps, to believe it." 

"Was there ever any one unconscious of his own merit?" asked 
Lady Florence, proudly. " They who distrust themselves have good 
reason for it." 

" You seek to cure the wound you inflicted," returned Maltravers, 
smiling. 

" No ; what I said was an apology for myself, as well as for you. 
You need uo words to vindicate you ; you are a man, and can bear 
out all arrogance with the royal motto — Lieu et mon droit. With you. 



200 EKNESX MALTIiAYIsaS. 

deeds can support pretension; but I am a woman — it was a mistake 
of Nature!" 

" But what triumphs that man can achieve bring so immediate, so 
]>;ilpable a reward as those won by a woman, beautiful and admired— 
who finds every room an empire, and every class her subjects ?" 

"It is a despicable realm." 

"What! — to command — to win — to bow to your worship— the 
greatest, and the highest, and the sternest ; to own slaves in those 
wnom men recognise as their lords ! Is such a power despicable ? 
If so, what power is to be envied?" 

Lady Florence turned quickly round to Maltravers, and fixed on 
4 iim her large dark eyes, as if she would read into his very heart. She 
turned away with a blush and a slight frown — "There is mockery ou 
your lip," said she. 

Before Maltravers could answer, dinner was announced, and a 
foreign ambassador claimed the hand of Lady Florence. Maltravers 
saw a young lady, with gold oats in her very light hair, fall to his lot, 
and descended to the dining-room, thinking more of Lady Florence 
Lascelles than he had ever done before. 

He happened to sit nearly opposite to the young mistress of the 
house (Lord Saxingham, as the reader knows, was a widower, and 
Lady Florence an only child) ; and Maltravers was that day in one of 
those felicitous moods in which our animal spirits search, and carry 
up, as it were, to the surface, our intellectual gifts and acquisitions. 
He convened generally and happily ; but once, when he turned his 
( :yes to appeal to Lady Florence for her opinion on some point in dis- 
i aission, he caught her gaze fixed upon him with an expression that 
i jhecked the current of his gaiety, and cast him into a curious and 
: )ewildered reverie. In that gaze there was earnest and cordial ad- 
niration; but it was mixed with so much mournfulness, that the 
; idmiration lost its eloquence, and he who noticed it was rather 
, laddened than flattered. 

After dinner, when Maltravers sought the drawing-rooms, he found 
them filled with the customary mob of good society. In one corner 
he discovered Castruccio Cesarini, playing on a guitar, slung across 
his breast with a blue riband. The Italian sang well : many young 
ladies were grouped round him, amongst others Florence Las- 
celles. Maltravers, fond as he was of music, looked upon Castruccio's 
performance as a disagreeable exhibition. He had a Quixotic idea of 
the dignity of talent ; and though himself of a musical science, and a 
melody of voice that would have thrown the room into ecstacies, he 
would as soon have turned juggler or tumbler for polite amusement, 
as contended for the bravos of a drawing-room. It was because he 
was one of the proudest men in the world, that Maltravers was one 
of the least vain. He did not care a rush for applause in small things. 
But Cesarini would have summoned the whole world to see him play 
at push-pin, if he thought he played it well. 

Beautiful! divine! charming!" — cried the young ladies, as 
Cesarini ceased; and Maltravers observed that Florence praised 
more earnestly than the rest, and that Cesarini's dark eyes sparkled, 
sad his pale cheek flushed with unwonted brilliancy. Florence 



ERNEST Sl/LLTRAVEKS. 201 

turned to Maltravers, and the Italian, following her eyes, frowned 
darkly. 

" } ou know the Signor Cesarini," said Florence, joining Maltravers. 
" He is an interesting and gifted person." 

" Unquestionably. I grieve to see him wasting his talents upon a 
soil that may yield a few short-lived flowers, without one useful plant, 
or productive fruit." 

'■ He enjoys the passing hour, Mr. Maltravers ; and sometimes when 
I see the mortifications that await sterner labour, I think he is right." 

"Hush!" said Maltravei s ; "his eyes are on us — he is listening 
breatlilessly for every word you utter. I fear that you have made an 
unconscious conquest of a poet's heart ; and if so, he purchases the 
enjoyment of the passing hour at a fearful price." 

" !Nav," said Lady Florence, indifferently, "he is one of those to 
whom the fancy supplies the place of the heart. And if I give him 
an inspiration, it will be an equal luxury to him whether his lyre be 
.strung to hope or disappointment. The sweetness of his verses will 
compensate to him for any bitterness in actual life." 

" There are two kinds of love," answered Maltravers, — "love and 
self-love ; the wounds of the last are often most incurable in those 
who appear least vulnerable to the first. Ah, Lady Florence, were I 
privileged to play the monitor, I would venture on one warning, how- 
ever much it might offend you." 

"And that is " 

" To forbear coquetry." 

Maltravers smiled as he spoke, but it was gravely — and at the same 
time he moved gently away. But Lady Florence laid her hand on 
his arm. » 

" Mr. Maltravers," said she, very softly, and with a kind of faltering 
in her tone, "ami wrong to say that I am anxious for your good 
opinion ? Do not judge me harshly. I am soured, discontented, un- 
happy. I have no sympathy with the world. These men whom I 
see around me — what are they? the mass of them unfeeling and 
silken egotists— ill-judging, ill-educated, well-dressed : the few who 
are called distinguished— now selfish in their ambition, how passionless 
in their pursuits ! Am I to be blamed if I sometimes exert a power 
over such as these, which rather proves my scorn of them tnan ray 
own vanity ?" 

" 1 have no right to argue with you." 

'" Yes, argue with me, convince me, guide mc — Heaven knows that, 
impetuous and haughty as I am, I need a guide,"— and Lady Florence's 
eyes swam with tears. Ernest's prejudices against her were greatly 
shaken : he was even somewhat dazzled by her beauty, and touched 
by her unexpected gentleness ; but still, his heart was not assailed, 
and he replied almost coldly, after a short pause — 

"Dear Lady. Florence, look round the world — who so much to be 
envied as vourself ? What sources of happiness and pride are open 
to you ! Why, then, make to yourself causes of discontent ? — why be 
scornful of those who cross not your path? Why not look with 
charity upon God's less endowed children, beneath you as they may 
seem ? What consolation have you in hurting the hearts or the 



202 ERNES! MA1TRAVERS. 

vanities of others ? Do you raise yourself even in your own estimation ? 
You affect to be above your sex — yet what character do_ you despise 
more in women that that which you assume ? Semiramis should not 
be a coquette ! There now, I have offended you — I confess I am very 
rude." 

" I am not offended," said Florence, almost struggling with her 
tears ; and she added inly, "Ah, I am too happy !" — There are some 
lips from which even the proudest women love to hear the censure 
which appears to disprove indifference. 

It was at this time that Lumley Ferrers, flushed with the success 
of his schemes and projects, entered the room ; and his quick eye fell 
upon that corner, in which he detected what appeared to him a very 
alarming flirtation between his rich cousin and Ernest Maltravers. 
He advanced to the spot, and with his customary frankness, extended 
a hand to each. 

" Ah, my dear and fair cousin, give me your congratulations, and 
ask me for my first frank, to be bound up in a collection of autographs 
by distinguished senators — it will sell high one of these days. Your 
most obedient, Mr. Maltravers ; — how we shall laugh in our sleeves at 
the humbug of politics, when you and I, the best friends in the world, 
sit vis-a-vis on opposite benches. But why, Lady Florence, have you 
never introduced me to your pet Italian? Allons! I am his match in 
Alfieri, whom, of course, he swears by, and whose verses, by the way, 
seem cut out of box-wood — the hardest material for turning off that 
sort of machinery that invention ever hit on." 

_ Thus saying, Ferrers contrived, as he bought, very cleverly, to 
divide a pair that he much feared were justly formed to meet by nature 
— and, to his great joy, Maltravers shortly afterwards withdrew. 

Ferrers, with the happy ease that belonged to his complacent, 
though plotting character, soon made Cesarini at home with him ; and 
two or three slighting expressions which the former dropped with 
respect to Maltravers, coupled with some outrageous compliments to 
the Italian, completely won the heart of the poet. The brilliant 
Florence was more silent and subdued than usual ; and her voice was 
softer, though graver, whenshe replied to Castruccio's eloquent appeals. 
Castruccio was one of those men who talk fine. By degrees, Lumley 
lapsed into silence, and listened to what tooK place between Lady 
Florence and the Italian, while appearing to be deep in " The Views 
of the Rhine," which lay on the table. 

" Ah," said the latter, in his soft native tongue, " could you know 
how I watch every shade of that countenance which makes my heaven ! 
Is it clouded ! night is with me ! — is it radiant, I am as the Persian 
gazing on the sun !" 

" Why do you speak thus to me ? were you not a poet, I ■ might 
be angry." 

" You were not angry when the English poet, that cold Maltravers, 
spoke to you perhaps as boldly." 

Ladyllorence drew up her haughty head. " Signor," said she, 
checking, however, her first impulse, and with mildness, "Mr. Mal- 
travers neither flatters nor " 

"Presumes, you were about to say," said Cesarini, grinding his 



.ERNEST MALTKAVEES. 203 

teeth. " But it is well — once you were less chilling to the utterance 
of my deep devotion." 

" Never, Signor Ccsarini, never — but when I thought it was but the 
common gallantry of your nation : let me th i n k so still." 

"X<>, proud woman," said Ccsarini, fiercely, "no— hear the truth." 

Lady Florence rose indignantly. 

" Hear me," he continued. " I— I, the poor foreigner, the despised 
liunstrel, dare to lift up my eyes to you ! I love you !" 

Never had Florence Lascelles been so humiliated and confounded. 
However she might have amused herself with the vanity of Cesarini, 
she had not given him, as she thought, the warrant to address her — 
the great Lady Florence, the prize of dukes and princes— in this hardy 
manner ; she almost fancied him insane. But the next moment she 
recalled the warning of Maltravers, and felt as if her punishment 
had commenced. 

" You will think and speak more calmly, sir, when we meet again," 
and so saying she swept away. 

Cesarini remained rooted to the spot, with his dark countenance 
expressing such passions as are rarely seen in the aspect of civilised 
men. 

" Where do you lodge, Signor Cesarini?" asked the bland, familiar 
voice of Ferrers. " Let us walk part of the way together — that is, 
when you are tired of these hot rooms." 

Cesarini groaned. " You are ill," continued Ferrers ; "the air will 
revive you — come." He glided from the room, and the Italian mecha- 
nically followed him. They walked together for some moments in 
silence, side by side, in a clear, lovely, moonlight night. At length 
Ferrers said, " Pardon me, my dear signor, but you may already have 
observed that I am a very frank, odd sort of fellow. I see you are 
caught by the charms of my cruel cousin. Can I serve you in any 
way ? " 

A man at all acquainted with the world in which we live would 
have been suspicious of such cordiality in the cousin of an heiress, 
towards a very unsuitable aspirant. But Cesarini, like many indifferent 
poets (but like few good ones), had no common sense. He thought 
it quite natural that a man who admired his poetry so much as Lumley 
had declared he did, should take a lively interest in his welfare ; and 
he therefore replied warmly "Oh, sir, this is indeed a crushing blow : 
I dreamed she loved me. She was ever flattering and gentle when she 
spoke to me, and in verse already I had told her of my love, and met 
with no rebuke." 

" Did your verses really and plainly declare love, and in your own 
person ?" 

" Why, the sentiment was veiled, perhaps— put into the mouth of a 
fictitious character, or conveyed in an allegory." 
^ " Oh ! " ejaculated Ferrers, thinking it very likely that the gorgeous 
Florence, hymned by a thousand bards, had done little more than 
cast a glance over the lines that had cost poor Cesarini such anxious 
toil, and inspired him with such daring hope. " Oh ! — and to-night 
the was more severe !— she is a te -rible coquette, la belle Florence ! 
But perhaps you have a rival " 



$04 ERNEST MAI/ntAVEBS. 

" I feel it— I saw it— I know it." 

"Whom do you suspect?" 

" That accursed Maltravers ! He crosses me in every path— mv 
spirit quails beneath his whenever we encounter. I read my doom. ' 

"If it be Maltravers," said Ferrers, gravely, "the danger cannot 
be great. Florence has seen but little of him, and he does not admire 
tier much ; but she is a great match, and he is ambitious. _ We must 
guard against this betimes, Cesarini — for know_ that I dislike Mal- 
travers as much as you do, and will cheerfully aid you in any plan to 
blight his hopes in that quarter.*' 

" Generous, noble friend !— yet he is richer, better-bom than I." 

" That may be ; but to one in Lady Florence's position, all minor 
grades of rank in her aspirants seem pretty well levelled. Come, I 
don't tell you that I would not sooner she married a countryman and 
m equal— but I have taken a Kking to you, and I detest Maltravers. 
She is very romantic — fond of poetry to a passion — writes it herself, 
[ fancy. Oh, you'll just suit her; but, alas! how will you see 
iier?" 

" See her ! What mean you ? " 

" Why, have you not declared love to-night ? I thought I over- 
heard you. Can you for a moment fancy that, after such an avowal, 
Lady Florence will again receive you — that is, if she mean to reject 
your suit?" 

"Fool that I was ! But no — she must, she shall." 

" Be persuaded : in this country violence will not do. Take my 
advice, write an humble apology, confess your fault, invoke her pity ; 
and, declaring that you renounce for ever the character of a lover, 
implore still to be acknowledged as a friend. Be quiet now, hear me 
me out ; I am older than you ; I know my cousin ; this will pique 
her ; your modesty will soothe, while your coldness will arouse, her 
vanity. Meanwhile you will watch the progress of Maltravers; I 
will be by your elbow; and between us, to use a homely phrase, we 
will do for him. Then you may have your opportunity, clear stage, 
and fair play." 

Cesarini was at first rebellious ; but, at length, even he saw the 
policy of the advice. But Lumley would not leave him till the 
advice was adopted. He made Castruccio accompany him to a club, 
dictated the letter to Florence, and undertook its charge. This was 
not all. 

"It is also necessary," said Lumley, after a short out thoughtful 
silence, " that you should write to Maltravers." 

"And for what?" 

"I have my reasons. Ask him, in a frank and friendly spirit, his 
opinion of Lady Florence ; state your belief that she loves you, and 
inquire ingenuously what he thinks your chances of happiness in such 
a union." 

"But why this?" 

" His answer may be useful," returned Lumley, musingly. " Stay, 
I will dictate the lettter." 

Cesarini wondered and hesitated, but there was that about Lumley 
Ferrers which had already obtained command over the weak and pas- 



KRNEST MALTRAVEllS. 205 

nonate poet. He wrote, therefore, as Lumley dictated, beginning 
with some common-place doubts as to the happiness of marriage in 
general, excusing himself for his recent coldness towards Maltravers, 
and asking him his confidential opinion both as to Lady Florence's 
character and his own chances of success. 
This letter, like the former one, Lumley sealed and despatched. 
" You perceive," he then said, briefly, to Cesarini, " that it is the 
object of this letter to entrap Maltravers into some plain and honest 
avowal of his dislike to Lady Florence ; we may make good 
use of such expressions hereafter, if he should ever prove a nvaL 
And now go home to rest : you look exhausted. Adieu, my new 
friend." 

" I have long had a presentiment," said Lumley to his councillor 
self, as he walked to Great George Street, "that that wild girl has 
conceived a romantic fancy for Maltravers. But I can easily prevent 
such an accident ripening into misfortune. Meanwhile, I have 
secured a tool, if I want one. By Jove, what an ass that poet is I 
But so was Cassio; yet Iago made use of him. If Iago had been born 
now, and dropped that foolish fancy for revenge, what a glorious 
fellow he would have been ! Prime minister at least ! " 

Pale, haggard, exhausted Castruccio Cesarini, traversing a length 
of way, arrived at last at a miserable lodging in the suburb of 
Chelsea. His fortune was now gone ; gone in supplying the poorest 
food to a craving and imbecile vanity : gone, that its owner might 
seem what nature never meant him for : the elegant Lothario, the 
graceful man of pleasure, the troubadour of modern life ! gone in 
horses, and jewels, and fine clothes, and gaming, and printing unsale- 
able poems on gilt-edged vellum ; gone, that he might be not a greater 
but a more fashionable man than Ernest Maltravers ! Such is the 
common destinv of those poor adventurers who confine fame to 
boudoirs and saloons. No matter whether they be poets or dandies, 
wealthy parvenus or aristocratic cadets, all equally prove the adage 
that the wrong paths to reputation are strewed with the wrecks of 
peace, fortune, happiness, and too often honour ! And yet this poor 
young man had dared to hope for the hand of Florence Lascelles ! He 
had the common notion of foreigners, that English girls marry for 
love, are very romantic ; that, within the three seas, heiresses are as 
plentiful as blackberries ; and for the rest, his vanity had been so 
pampered, that it now insinuated itself into every fibre of his intel- 
lectual and moral system. 

Cesarini looked cautiously round, as he arrived at his door; for he 
fancied that, even in that obscure place, persons might be anxious to 
catch a glimpse of the celebrated poet ; and he concealed his residence 
from all ; dined on a roll when he did not dine out, and left his address 
at "The Travellers." He looked round, I say, and he did observe 
a tall figure, wrapped in a cloak, that had indeed followed him from a 
distant and more populous part of the town. But the figure turned 
round, and vanished instantly. Cesarini mounted to his second floor. 
And about the middle of the next day a messenger left a letter at his 
door, containing one hundred pounds in a blank envelope. Cesarini 
knew not the writing of the address •. his nride was deeply wounded. 



£0t EllNEST MAITB-AVEKS. 

Ajradst all ms penury, lie had not even applied to his own sister. 
Could it come from her, from De Montaigne ? He was lost in con- 
jecture. He gut the remittance aside for a few days, for he had some- 
thing fine in him, the poor poet ! but bills grew pressing, and necessity 
hath no law . 

Two days afterwards, Cesarini brought to Ferrers the answer he 
had received from Maltravers. Lumley had rightly foreseen that 
the high spirit of Ernest would conceive some indignation at the 
coquetry ot Florence in beguiling the Italian into hopes never to 
be realized, that he would express himself openly and warmly. 
He did so, however, with more gentleness than Lumley had anti- 
cipated. 

" This is not exactly the thing," said Ferrers, after twice reading 
the letter • " still it may hereafter be a strong card in our hands — we 
■will keep it." 

So saying, he locked up the letter in his desk, and Cesarini soon 
forgot its existence. 



CHAPTER V. 

" She was a phantom of delight, 
When first she gleamed upon my sight ; 
A lovely apparition sent, 
To be a moment's ornament." — Wordsworth. 

Maltravers did not see Lady Florence again for some weeks ; 
meanwhile, Lumley Ferrers made his debut in parliament. Rigidly 
adhering to his plan of acting on a deliberate system, and not prone 
to overrate himself, Mr. Ferrers did not, like most promising new 
members, try the hazardous ordeal of a great first speech. Though 
bold, fiuentj and ready, he was not eloquent ; and he knew that on 
great occasions, when great speeches are wanted, great guns like to 
have the fire to themselves. Neither did he split upon the opposite 
rock of "promising young men," who stick to "the business of the 
house" like leeches, and quibble on details; in return for which 
labour, they are generally voted bores, who can never do anything 
remarkable. But he spoke frequently, shortly, courageously, and 
with a strong dash of good-humoured personality. He was the man 
whom a minister could get to say something which other people did 
not like to say ; and he did so with a frank fearlessness that carried 
off any seeming violation of good taste. He soon became a very 
popular speaker in the parliamentary clique; especially with the 
gentlemen who crowd the bar, and never want to hear the argument 
of the debate. Between him and Maltravers a visible coldness now 
existed ; for the latter looked upon his old friend (whose principles of 
logic led him even to republicanism, and who had been accustomed to 
accuse Ernest of temporising with plain truths, if he demurred to 
their application to artificial states of society) as a cold-blooded and 
hypocritical adventurer; while Ferrers, seeing that Ernest could now 



s 



i:ilNK8T JIALTRAVERS. 207 

be of no further use to him, was willinc: >■ -igh to drop a profitless 
intimacy. Nay, he thought it would be ,se to pick a quarrel with 
him, if possible, as the best means of banishing a supposed rival from 
the house of his noble relation. Lord Saxiugham. But no opportunity 
for that step presented itself; so Lumley kept a fit of convenient 
rudeness, or an impromptu sarcasm, in reserve, if ever it shoidd be 
wanted. 

The scas'-.n and the session were alike drawing to a close, when 
Ma't ravers received a pressing invitation from Cleveland to spend a 
week at his villa, which he assured Ernest would be lull. of agreeable 
jeople ; and as all business productive of debate or division was over, 
Maftravers was glad to ODtain fresh air and a change of scene. 
Accordingly, he sent down his luggage and favourite books, and, one 
afternoon in early August, rode alone towards Temple Grove. He 
was much dissatisfied, perhaps disappointed, with his experience of 
public life ; and with his high-wrought and over-refining views of the 
deficiencies of others more prominent, he was in a humour to mingle 
also censure of himself, for naving yielded too much to the doubts 
and scruples that often, in the early part of their career, beset the 
honest and sincere, in the turbulent whirl of politics, and ever tend to 
make the robust hues that should belong to action 

" Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.' 

His mind was working its way slowly towards those conclusions, 
which sometimes ripen the best practical men out of the most ex- 
alted theorists, and perhaps he saw before him the pleasing pro- 
spect flatteringly exhibited to another, when he complained of being 
too honest for party, viz., " becoming a very pretty rascal in time !" 

For several weeks he had not heard from his unknown corre- 
spondent, and the time was come when he missed those letters, now 
continued for more than two_ years ; and which, in their eloquent 
mixture of complaint, exhortation, despondent gloom, and declamatory 
enthusiasm, had often soothed him in dejection, and made him more 
sensible of triumph. While revolving in his mind thoughts connected 
with these subjects ; and, somehow or other, with his more ambitious 
reveries were always mingled musings of curiosity respecting his cor- 
respondent—he was struck by the Tbeauty of a little girl, of about 
eleven years old, who was walking with a female attendant on the 
footpath that skirted the road. I said that he was struck by her 
beauty, but that is a wrong expression ; it was rather the charm of 
her countenance than the perfection of her features which arrested 
the gaze of Maltravers — a charm that might not have existed for 
others, but was inexpressively attractive to him, and was so much 
apart from the vulgar fascination of mere beauty, that it would have 
equally touched a chord at his heart, if coupled with homely features 
or a bloomless cheek. This charm was in a wonderful innocent and 
dove-like softness of expression. We all form to ourselves some 
beau-ideal of the " fair spirit " we desire as our earthly " minister," 
and somewhat capriciously gauge and proportion our admiration of 
living shapes according as the bcan-idi'nl is more or less embodied or 



208 EftNEST MAiTllAVEl? 

approached. Beauty, of a stamp that is not familiar to the dreams 
of our fancy, may win the cold homage of our judgment, while a look, 
a feature, a something that realizes and calls up a boyish vision, and 
assimilates even distinctly to the picture we wear within us, has a 
loveliness peculiar to our eyes, and kindles an emotion that almost 
seems to belong to memory. It is this which the Platonists felt when 
shey wildly supposed tl:at souls attracted to each other on earth had 
been united in an earlier being and a diviner sphere ; and there was 
in the young face on which Ernest gazed precisely this ineffable 
iiarmony with his preconceived notions of the beautiful. Many a 
aightly and noonday reverie was realized in those mild yet smiling 
eyes of the darkest blue ; in that ingenuous breadth of brow, with its 
slightly pencilled arches, and the nose, not cut in that sharp and clear 
symmetry which looks so lovely in marble, but usually gives to flesh 
and blood a decided and hard character, that better becomes the 
sterner than the gentler sex — no ; not moulded in the pure Grecian, 
Qor in the pure Roman, cast ; but small, delicate, with the least pos- 
sible inclination to turn upward, that was only to be detected in one 
position of the head, and served to give a prettier archness to the 
sweet flexile lips, which, from the gentleness of their repose, seemed 
to smile unconsciously, but rather from a happy constitutional, 
serenity than from the giddiness of mirth. Such was the character of 
this fair child's countenance, on which Maltravers turned and gazed 
involuntarily and reverently, with something of the admiring delight 
with which we look upon the Virgin of a Rafaele, or the sunset land- 
scape of a Claude. The girl did not appear to feel any premature 
coquetry at the evident, though respectful, admiration she excited. 
She met the eyes bent upon her, brilliant and eloquent as they were, 
with a fearless and unsuspecting gaze, and pointed out to her com- 
panion, with all a child's quick and unrestrained impulse, the s hinin g 
and raven gloss, the arched and haughty neck, of Ernest's beautiful 
Arabian. 

Now there happened between Maltravers and the young object of 
his admiration a little adventure, which served, perhaps, to fix in her 
recollection this short _ encounter with a stranger ; for certain it is, 
that, years after, she did remember both the circumstances of the ad- 
venture and the features of Maltravers. She wore one of those large 
straw-hats which look so pretty upon children, and the warmth of the 
day made her untie the strings which confined it. A gentle breeze 
arose, as by a turn in the road the country became more open, and 
suddenly wafted the hat from its proper post — almost to the hoofs of 
Ernest's horse. The child naturally made a spring forward to arrest 
the deserter, and her foot supped down the bank, which was rather 
steeply raised above the road ; she uttered a low cry of pain. To dis- 
mount — to regain the prize— and to restore it to its owner, was, with 
Ernest, the work of a moment ; the poor girl had twisted her ankle, 
and was leaning upon her servant for support. But when she saw 
the anxiety, and almost the alarm, upon the stranger's face (and her 
exclamation of pain had literally thrilled his heart — so much and so 
unaccountably had she excited his interest), she made an effort at 
self-control, not common at her years, and, with a forced smile, assured 



ERNEST MALTRAVEBS. 209 

him she was not much hurt— that it was nothing— that she was just 
at hi mio. 

"Oh, miss!" said the servant, "I am sure you are very bad. 
Bear heart, how auirrv master will be! It was not my fault; was 
it, sir:-"' 

"Oli, no, it was not your fault, Margaret; don't be frightened- 
papa shan't blame you." But I'm much, better now." So saying, 
she tried to walk ; but the effort was vain— she turned yet more pale, 
and though she struggled to prevent a shriek, the tears rolled down 
her cheeks. 

It was very odd, but Maltravers had never felt more touched — the 
tears stood in his own eyes ; he longed to carry her in his arms, but, 
child as she was, a strange kind of nervous timidity forbade him. 
Margaret, perhaps, expected it of him, for she looked hard in his face, 
before she attempted a burthen, to which, being a small, slight 
person, she was by no means equal. However, after a pause, she 
took up her charge, who, ashamed of her tears, and almost overceme 
■with pain, nestled her head in the woman's bosom, and Mall-ravers 
walked by her side, wliile his docile and well-trained horse followed 
at a distance, every now and then putting its fore-legs on the bank, 
and cropping away a mouthful of leaves from the hedge-row. 

" Oh, Margaret ! " said the little sufferer, " I cannot bear it — indeed 
I cannot." 

And Maltravers observed that Margaret had permitted the lamed 
foot to hang down unsupported, so that the pain must indeed have 
been scarcely bearable. He could restrain himself no longer. 

" You are not strong enough to carry her," said he, sharply, to the 
servant ; and the next moment the child was in his arms. Oh, with 
what anxious tenderness he bore her ! and he was so happy when she 
turned her face to him and smiled, and told him she now scarcely felt 
the pain. If it were possible to be in love with a child of eleven 
years old, Maltravers was almost in love. His pulses trembled as he 
felt her pure breath on his cheek, and her rich beautiful hair was 
waved by the breeze across his lips. He hushed his voice to a 
whisper as he _poured forth all the soothing and comforting expres- 
sions, which give a natural eloquence to persons fond of children — 
and Ernest Maltravers was the idol of children ; — he understood and 
sympathised with them • he had a great deal of the child himself, be- 
neath the rough and cold husk of his proud reserve. At length they 
came to a lodge, and Margaret, eagerly inquiring " whether master 
and missus were at home," seemed delighted to hear they were not. 
Ernest, however, insisted on bearing his charge across the lawn to the 
house, which, like most suburban villas, was but a stone's throw from 
the lodge; and, receiving the most positive promise that surgical 
advice should be immediately sent for, he was forced to content nim- 
*elf with laying the sufferer on a sofa in the drawing-room ; and she 
toanked him so prettily, and assured him she was so much easier, that 
he would have givrn_thc world to kiss her. The child had completed 
ber eonquest ovei him, by being above the child's ordinary littleness 
of making the worst of things, in order to obtain the consequence and 
dignity of being pitied— <die was evidently unselfish and considerate 

p 



210 EKNBST MAITKATERS. 

for others. He did kiss her, but it was the hand that he kissed, and 
no cavalier ever kissed his lady's hand with more respect ; and then, 
for the first time, the child blushed— then for the first time, she felt 
as if the day would come when she should be a child no longer ! Why 
was this ? — perhaps because it is an era in life — the first sign of a ten- 
derness that inspires respect, not familiarity ! 

" If ever again I could be in love," said Maltravers, as he spurred 
on his road, " I really think it would be with that exquisite child. My 
feeling is more like that of love at first sight, than any emotion whicn 
beauty ever caused in me. Alice — Valerie — no ; the first sight of 
them did not : — but what folly is this ! — a child of eleven— and I 
verging upon thirty ! " 

Still, however, folly as it might be, the image of that young girl 
haunted Maltravers for many days ; till change of scene, the distrac- 
tions of society, the grave thoughts of manhood, and, above all, a 
series of exciting circumstances about to be narrated, gradually obli- 
terated a strange and most delightful impression. He had learned, 
however, that Mr. Templeton was the proprietor of the villa, whicn 
was the child's home. He wrote to Ferrers, to narrate the incident, 
and to inquire after the sufferer. In due time he heard from thai 
gentleman that the child was recovered, and gone with Mr. and Mrs. 
TemDleton to Brighton, for change of air and sea-bathing. 



iBBlNEST MA1.TKAVEB8. 



BOOK VIII. 



CHAPTER I. 

*■ Notitiam primosquc gradus vicinia fecit."* — Ovid. 

Cleveland's villa was full, and of persons usually called agreeable. 
Amongst the rest was Lady Florence Lascelles. The wise old mail 
had ever counselled Maltravers not to marry too young j but neither 
did he wish him to put off that momentous epoch of life till all the 
bloom of heart and emotion was passed away. He thought, with the 
old lawgivers, that thirty was the happy age for forming a connection, 
in the choice of which, with the reason ot manhood, ought, perhaps, 
to be blended the passion of youth. And he saw that few men were 
more capable than Maltravers of the true enjoyments of domestic life. 
He had Ions: thought, also, that none were more calculated to sympa- 
thise with Ernest's views, and appreciate his peculiar character, than, 
the girled and brilliant Florence Lascelles. Cleveland looked with 
toleration on her many eccentricities of thought and conduct,— eccen- 
tricities which he imagined would rapidly melt away beneath the in- 
fluence of that attachment which usually operates so great a change 
in women; and, where it is strongly and intensely felt, moulds even 
those of the most obstinate character into compliance or similitude 
with the sentiments or habits of its object. 

The stately self-control of Maltravers was, he conceived, precisely 
that quality that gives to men an unconscious command over the very 
thougnts of the woman whose affection they win : while, on the other 
hand, he hoped that the fancy and enthusiasm of Florence would tend 
to render sharper and more practical an ambition, which seemed to 
the sober man of the world too apt to refine upon the means, and to 
eui bono the objects, of worldly distinction. Besides, Cleveland was 
one who thoroughly appreciated the advantages of wealth and station ; 
and the rank and the dower of Florence were such as would force 
Maltravers into a position in social life, which could not fail to make 
new exactions upon talents which Cleveland fancied were precisely 
those adapted rather to command than to serve. In Ferrers he recog- 
nised a man to get into power — in Maltravers one by whom power, if 
ever attained would be wielded with dignity, and exerted for great 
uses. Something, therefore, higher than mere covetousness for the 
Tulgar interests of Maltravers, made Cleveland desire to secure to him 

* Neighbourhood caused the acquaintance and first introduction. 



212 BMfESr MALTlvlVEJEtS. 

the heart and hand of the great heiress ; and he fancied that, whatever 
might he the obstacle, it would not be in the will of Lady Florence 
herself. He prudently resolved, however, to leave matters to their 
natural course. He hinted nothing to one party or the other. No 
place for falling in love like a large country house, and no time for it, 
amongst the indolent well-horn, like the close of a London season, 
when, jaded by small cares, and sickened of hollow intimacies, even 
the coldest may well yearn for the tones of affection — the excitement 
of an honest emotion. 

Somehow or other it happened that Florence and Ernest, after the 
nrst day or two, were constantly thrown together. She rode on 
horseback, and Maltravers was by her side — they made excursions on 
the river, and they sat on the same bench in the gliding pleasure- 
boat. In the evenings, the younger guests, with the assistance of the 
neighbouring families, often got up a dance, in a temporary pavilion 
built out of the dining-room. Ernest never danced. Florence did at 
first. But once, as she was conversing with Maltravers, when a gay 
guardsman came to claim herpromised hand in the waltz, she seemed 
struck by a grave change in Ernest's face. 

"Do you never waltz?" she asked, while the guardsman was 
searching for a corner wherein safely to deposit his hat. 

" No," said he ; " yet there is no impropriety in my waltzing." 

"And you mean that there is in mine?" 

" Pardon me — I did not say so." 

"But you think it." 

" Nay, on consideration, I am glad, perhaps, that you do waltz." 

" You are mysterious." 

"Well then, I mean, that you are precisely the woman I would 
never fall in love with. And I feel the danger is lessened, when I see 
you destroy any one of my illusions, or I ought to say, attack any one 
of my prejudices." 

Lady Florence coloured ; but the guardsman and the music left her 
no time for reply. However, after that night she waltzed no more. 
She was unwell — she declared she was ordered not to dance, and so 
quadrilles were relinquished as well as the waltz. 

Maltravers could not but be touched and nattered by this regard 
for his opinion ; but Florence contrived to testify it so as to forbid 
acknowledgment, since another motive had been found for it. The 
second evening after that commemorated by Ernest's candid rudeness, 
they chanced to meet in the conservatory, which was connected with 
1 he ball-room ; and Ernest, pausing to inquire after her health, was 
struck by the listless and dejected sadness which spoke in her tone 
and countenance as she rephed to him. 

"Dear Lady Florence," said he, "I fear you are worse than you 
will confess. You should shun these draughts. You owe it to your 
friends to be more careful of yourself." 

"Friends !" said Lady Florence, bitteiiy — " I have no friends ! — 
even my poor father would not absent himself from a cabinet dinner a 
week after 1 was dead. But that is the condition of public life — its 
hot and searing blaze puts out the lights of all lesser but not unholier 
affections, —Friends '. Fate, that made Florence Lascelles the enviej 



JEKKEST JMALTHAVEllS. i> CH 

heiress, denied her brothers, sisters ; and the hour of her birth lost 
her even the love of a mother ! Friends ! where shall I find them ?" 

As she ceased ? she turned to the open casement, and stepped out 
into the verandan, and by the trembling of her voice Ernest felt that 
she had done so to hide or to suppress her tears. 

" Yet," said he, following her, " there is one class of more distant 
friends, whose interest Lady Florence Lascelles cannot fail to secure, 
however she may disdain it. Among the humblest of that class, suffer 
me to rank myself. Come, I assume the privilege of advice — the 
night air is a luxury you must not indulge." 

" No, no, it refreshes me — it soothes. You misunderstand me, I 
have no illness that still skies and sleeping flowers can increase." 

Maltravers, as is evident, was not in love with Florence, but lie 
could not fail, brought, as he had lately been, under the direct inftu ■ 
ence of her rare and prodigal gifts, mental and personal, to feel for her 
a strong and even affectionate interest — the very frankness with which 
he was accustomed to speak to her, and the many links of communion 
there necessarily were between himself and a mind so naturally pow- 
erful and so richly cultivated, had already established their acquaint- 
ance upon an intimate footing. 

" I cannot restrain you, Lady Florence," said he, half smiling, 
" but my conscience will not let me be an accomplice. I will turn 
king's evidence, and hunt out Lord Saxingham to send him to you." 

Lady Florence, whose face was averted from his, did not appear to 
hear him. 

" And you, Mr. Maltravers," turning quickly round — " you— have 
you friends ? — Do you feel that there are, I do not say public, but 
private affections and duties, for which life is made less a possession 
than a trust ? " 

" Lady Florence — no ! — I have friends, it is true, and Cleveland is 
of the nearest ; but the life within life — the second self, in whom we 
vest the right and mastery over our own being — I know it not. But 
is it," he added, after a pause, " a rare privation ? Perhaps it is a 
happy one. I have learned to lean on my own soul, and not look 
elsewhere for the reeds that a wind can break." 

" Ah, it is a cold philosophy — you may reconcile yourself to its 
wisdom in the world, in the hum and shock of men : but in solitude, 
with Nature — ah, no ! While the mind alone is occupied, you may be 
contented with the pride of stoicism ; but there are moment? when 
the heart wakens as from a sleep — wakens like a frightened child — to 
feel itself alone and in the dark." 

Ernest was silent, and Florence continued, in an altered voice : 
" This is a strange conversation — and you must think me indeed a 
wild, romance-reading person, as the world is apt to call me. But if 
I live — I — pshaw ! — life denies ambition to women." 

" If a woman like you, Lady Florence, should ever love, it will be 
one in whose career you may perhaps find tnat noblest of all ambi- 
tions — the ambition women only feel — the ambition for another '." 

" Ah ! but I shall never love," said Lady Florence, and lier cheek 
pew pale as the starlight shone on it ; " still, perhaps," she added 
quickly, "I may at least kniwthe blessing of friendship. Why now," 



814 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

and here, approaching Maltravers, she laid her hand with a winning 
frankness on his arm — " why now, should not we be to each other as 
if love, as you call it, were not a thing for earth — and friendship sup- 
plied its place ! — there is no danger of our falling in love with each 
other. You are not vain enough to expect it in me, and I, you know, 
am a coquette ; let us be friends, confidants — at least till you marry. 
or I give another the right to control my friendships and monopolise 
my secrets." 

Maltravers was startled — the sentiment Florence addressed to him, 
he, in words not (hssimilar, had once addressed to Valerie. 

" The world," said he, kissing the hand that yet lay on his arm, "the 
world will " 

" Oh, you men !— the world, the world ! — Everything gentle, every- 
thing pure, everything noble, high-wrought and holy — is to be squared, 
and cribbed, and maimed to the rule and measure of the world ! The 
world — are you too its slave ? Do you not despise its hollow cant — its 
methodical hypocrisy ? " 

" Heartily !" said Ernest Maltravers, almost with fierceness. _ " No 
man ever so scorned its false gods, and its miserable creeds — its war 
upon the weak — its fawning upon the great — its ingratitude to bene- 
factors—its sordid league with mediocrity against excellence. Yes, in 
proportion as I love mankind, I despise and detest that worse than 
Venetian oligarchy which mankind set over them and call ' the 

WORLD.' " 

And then it was, wanned by the excitement of released feelings, 
long and carefully shrouded, that this man, ordinarily so calm and self- 
possessed, poured burningly and passionately forth all those tumultuous 
and almost tremendous thoughts, which, however much we may regu- 
late, control, or disguise them, lurk deep within the souls of all of us, 
the seeds of the eternal war between the natural man and the artificial ; 
between our wilder genius and our social conventionalities ; — thoughts 
that from time to time break forth into the harbingers of vain and 
fruitless revolutions, impotent struggles against destiny ; — thoughts 
that good and wise men would be slow to promulge and propagate, 
for they are of a fire which burns as well as brightens, and which 
spreads from heart to heart — as a spark spreads amidst flax; — 
thoughts which are rifest where natures are most high, but belongto 
truths that virtue dare not tell aloud. And as Maltravers spoke, with 
his eyes flashing almost intolerable light — his breast heaving, his form 
dilated, never to the eyes of Florence Lascelles did he seem so great : 
the chains that bound the strong limbs of his spirit seemed snapped 
asunder, and all his soul was visible and towering, as a thing 
that has escaped slavery, and lifts its crest to heaven, and feels that it 
is free. 

That evening saw a new bond of alliance between these two persons; 
— young, handsome, and of opposite sexes, they agreed to be friends, 
and nothing more ! Pools ! 



ERNEST MALTRAVEBS. 215 



CHAPTER II. 

" Idem velle, et idem nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est."* — Sai.lust. 

" Carlos. That letter. 
Princess Euoli. Oh, I shall die. Return it instantly." 

Schillur : Don Carlos. 

IT seemed as if the compact Maltravers and Lady Florence had 
entered into removed whatever embarrassment and reserve had pre- 
viously existed. They now conversed with an ease and freedom, not 
common in persons of different sexes before they have passed their 
grand climacteric. Ernest, in ordinary life, like most men of warm 
emotions and strong imagination, if not taciturn, was at least guarded. 
It was as if a weight were taken from his breast, when he found one 
person who could understand Mm best when he was most candid. 
His eloquence — his poetry — his intense and concentrated enthusiasm 
found a voice. He could talk to an individual as he would have 
written to the public — a rare hapiness to the men of books. 

Florence seemed to recover her health and spirits as by a miracle ; 
yet was she more gentle, more subdued, than of old — there was less 
effort to shine, less indifference whether she shocked. Persons who had 
not met her before, wondered why she was dreaded in society. _ But 
at times a great natural irritability of temper — a quick suspicion of 
the motives of those around her — an imperious and obstinate vehe- 
mence of will, were visible to Maltravers, and served, perhaps, to 
keep him heartwhole. He regarded her through the eyes of the 
intellect, not those of the passions — he thought not of her as a 
woman — her very talents, her very grandeur of idea and power of 
purpose, while they delighted him in conversation, diverted his imagi 
nation from dwelling on her beauty. He looked on her as something 
apart from her sex — a glorious creature spoilt by being a woman. He 
once told her so, laughingly, and Florence considered it a compli- 
ment. Poor Florence, her scorn of her sex avenged her sex, and robbed 
her of her proper destiny ! 

Cleveland silently observed their intimacy, and listened with a 
quiet smile to the gossips who pointed out tetes-a-tete by the terrace, 
and loiterings by the lawn, and predicted what would come of it all. 
Lord Saxingham was blind. But his daughter was of age, in pos- 
session of her princely fortune, and had long made him sensible of 
her independence of temper. His lordship, however, thoroughly 
misunderstood the character of her pride, and felt fully convinced she 
would marry no one less than a duke ; as for flirtations, he thought 
them natural and innocent amusements. Besides, he was very little 
at Temple Grove. He went to London every morning, after break- 

* To win the same thing and not to will the sao e thing, that at length i9 firm 
friendship. 



816 BBNEST MAI/ERAVEBS. 

fasting in his own room — came back to dine, play at whist, and tale 
good-humoured nonsense to Elorence in his dressing-room, for the 
three minutes that took place between his sipping his wine-and- water 
and the appearance of his valet. As for the other guests, it was not 
their business to do more than gossip with each other ; and so Elorence 
and Maltravers went on their way unmolested, though not unobserved. 
Maltravers not being himself in love, never fancied that Lady Florence 
loved him, or that she would be in any danger of doing so ; — this is a 
mistake a man often commits — a woman never. A woman always 
knows when she is loved, though she often imagines she is loved 
when she is not. Elorence was not happy, for happiness is a calm 
feeling. But she was excited with a vague, wild, intoxicating 
emotion. 

She had learned from Maltravers that she had been misinformed by 
Ferrers, and that no other claimed empire over his heart ; and whether 
or not he loved her, still for the present they seemed all in all to each 
other ; she lived but for the present day, she would not think of the 
morrow. 

Since that severe illness which had tended so much to alter Ernest's 
mode of life, he had not come before the public as an author. Latterly, 
however, the old habit had broken out again. With the comparative 
idleness of recent years, the ideas and feelings which crowd so fast on 
the poetical temperament, once indulged, had accumulated within 
him to an excess that demanded vent. Eor with some, to write is not 
a vague desire, but an imperious destiny. The fire is kindled and 
must break forth; the wings are fledged, and the birds must leave 
their nest. The communication of thought to man is implanted as an 
instinct in those breasts to which heaven has intrusted the solemn 
agencies of genius. In the work which Maltravers now composed, he 
consulted Elorence : his confidence delighted her — it was a compli- 
ment she could appreciate. Wild, fervid, impassioned, was that 
work — a brief and holiday creation — the youngest and most beloved 
of the children of his brain. And as day by day the bright design 
grew into shape, and thought and imagination found themselves 
local habitations," Elorence felt as if she were admitted into the 
palace of the genii, and made acquainted with the mechanism of those 
spells and charms with which the preternatural powers of mind design 
the witchery of the world. Ah, how different in depth and majesty 
were those iuter-communications of idea between Ernest Maltravers 
and a woman scarcely inferior to himself in capacity and acquire- 
ment, from that bridge of shadowy and dim sympathies which the 
enthusiastic boy had once built up between his own poetry of know- 
ledge and Alice's poetry of love ! 

It was one late afternoon in September, when the sun was slowly 
going down its western way, that Lady Florence, who had been all 
that morning in her own room, paying off, as she said, the dull arrears 
of correspondence, rather on Lord Saxingham's account than her 
own ; for he punctiliously exacted from her the most scrupulous 
attention to cousins fifty times removed, provided they were rich, 
clever, well off, or in any way of consequence : — it was one afternoon 
Shat, relieved from these avocations, Lady Florence strolled through 



EENEST MAIiTRAVEHK. 217 

the grounds with Cleveland. The gentlemen were still in the stubble- 
fields, the ladies were out in barouches and pony phaetons, and 
Cleveland and Lady Florence were alone. 

Apropos of Florence's epistolary employment, their conversation, 
fell upon that most charming species of literature, which joins with 
the interest of a novel the truth of a history — the French memoir and 
letter-writers. It was a part of literature in which Cleveland was 
thoroughly at home. 

''Those agreeable and polished gossips," said he. "how well they 
contrived to introduce nature into art ! Everything artificial seemed 
so natural to them. They even feel by a kind of clockwork, whias 
seems to go better than the heart itself. Those pretty sentiments, 
those delicate gallantries, of Madame de Sevigne to her daughter, 
how amiable they are; but, somehow or other, I can never fancy 
them the least motherly. What an ending for a maternal epistle is 
that elegant compliment — 'Songez que de tous les coeurs ou vous 
regnez, ll n'y en a aucun oil votre empire soit si bien etabli que dans 
le mien.' * I can scarcely fancy Lord Saxingham writing so to you, 
Lady Florence." 

"No, indeed," replied Lady Florence, smiling. "Neither papas 
nor mammas in England are much addicted to compliment ; but ? I 
confess, I like preserving a sort of gallantry even in our most familiar 
connections — why should we not carry the imagination into all the 
affections?" 

" I can scarce answer the why," returned Cleveland ; " but I think 
it would destroy the reality. I am rather of the old school. If I had 
a daughter, and -asked her to get my slippers, I am afraid I should 
think it a little wearisome, if I had, in receiving them, to make des 
belles phrases in return." 

While they were thus talking, and Lady Florence continued to press, 
her side of the question, they passed through a little grove that con- 
ducted to an arm of the stream which ornamented the grounds, and 
by its quiet and shadowy gloom was meant to give a contrast to the 
livelier features of the domain. Here they came suddenly upon Mal- 
travers. He was walking by the side of the brook, and evidently ab- 
sorbed in thought. 

It was the trembling of Lady Florence's hand as it lay on 
Cleveland's arm, that induced him to stop short in an animated com- 
mentary on Rochefoucauld's character of Cardinal de Retz, and look 
round. 

"Ha, most meditative Jacques!" said he; "and what new moral 
hast thou been conning in our Forest of Ardennes ?" 

" Oh, I am glad to see you ; I wished to consult you, Cleveland. 
But first, Lady Florence, to convince you and our host that my 
rambles have not been wholly fruitless, and that I could not walk 
from Dan to Beersheba and find all barren, accept my offering— a wild 
rose that I discovered in the thickest part of tlie wood. It is not a 
civilized rose. Now, Cleveland, a word with you." 

" And now, Mr. Maltravers, I am de trop," said Lady Florence. 

* Think that of aU the hearts over which you reign, there is not one in whicn 
sour empire can be so well established as in mine. 



£18 EUNEST MALlltAVERS. 

" Pardon rac, I have no secrets from you in this matter — or rather, 
these matters ; for there are two to be discussed. In the first place, 
Lady Florence, that poor Cesarini,— you Know and like him — nay, no 
blushes." 

"Did I blush ?— then it was in recollection of an old reproach of 
yours." 

" At its justice !— well, no matter. He is one for whom I always 
felt a lively interest. His very morbidity of temperament only in- 
creases my_ anxiety for Iris future fate. I have received a letter from 
De Montaigne, his brother-in-law, who seems seriously uneasy about 
Castruccio. He wishes him to leave England at once, as the sole 
means of restoring his broken fortunes. De Montaigne has the 
opportunity of procuring him a diplomatic situation, which may not 
again occur — and — but you know the man ! — what shall we do ? I 
am sure he will not listen to me ; he looks on me as an interested rival 
for fame." 

"Do you think I have any subtler eloquence?" said Cleveland. 
" No, I am an author, too. Come, I think your ladyship must be the 
arch-negotiator." 

" He has genius, he has merit," said Maltravers, pleadingly : " he 
wants nothing but time and experience to wean him from his foibles. 
Will you try to save him, Lady Florence ? " 

" Why ! nay, I must not be obdurate ; I will see him when I 
go to town. It is like you, Mr. Maltravers, to feel this interest in 
one " 

" Who does not like me, you would say ; but lie will, some day or 
other. Besides, I owe him deep gratitude. In his weaker qualities 
I have seen many which all literary men might incur, without strict 
watch over themselves ; and let me add, also, that his family have 
great claims on me." 

_ " You believe in the soundness of his heart, and in the integrity of 
his honour ? " said Cleveland, inquiringly. 

" Indeed I do ; these are, these must be, the redeeming qualities of 
poets." 

Maltravers spoke warmly ; and such at that time was his influence 
over Florence, that his words formed — alas, too fatally ! — her estimate 
of Castruccio's character, which had at first been high, but which his 
own presumption had latterly shaken. She had seen him three 
or four times in the interval between the receipt of his apolo- 
getic letter and her visit to Cleveland, and he had seemed to her 
rather sullen than humbled. But she felt for the vanity she herself 
had wounded. 

"And now," continued Maltravers, "for my second subject of con- 
sultation. But thatis political ; will it weary Lady Florence ?" 

" Oil, no ; to politics I am never indifferent : they always inspire me 
with contempt or admiration, according to the motives of those who 
bring the science into action. Pray say on." 

"Well," said Cleveland, "one confidant at a time; you will for- 
give me, for I see _ my guests coming across the lawn, and I may as 
well make a diversion in your favour. Ernest can consult me at any 
time." 



ERNEST MALTKAVJSUB. 219 

Cleveland walked away ; but the intimacy between Maltravers and 
Florence was of so frank a nature, that there was nothing embarrass- 
ing in the thought of a tete-a-tete. 

"Lady Florence," said Ernest, "there is no one in the world with 
whom I can confer so cheerfully as _ with you. I am almost glad of 
Cleveland's absence, for, with all his amiable and fine qualities, 'the 
world is too much with him,' and we do not argue from the same 
data. Pardon my prelude — now to my position. I have received a 
letter from Mr. -. That statesman, whom none but those ac- 
quainted with the chivalrous beauty of his nature can understand or 
appreciate, sees before him the most brilliant career that ever opened 
in this country to a public man not born an aristocrat. He has 
asked me to form one of the new administration that he is about to 
create : the place offered to me is above my merits, nor suited to what 
I have yet done, though, perhaps, it be suited to what I may yet do. 
I make that qualification, for you know," added Ernest, with a proud 
smile, " that I am sanguine and self-confident." 

" You accept the proposal?" 

"Nay — should I not reject it ? Our politics are the same only for 
the moment, our ultimate objects are widely different. To serve with 

Mr. , I must make an unequal compromise — abandon nine 

opinions to promote one. Is not tins a capitidation of that great 
citadel one's own conscience ? No man will call me inconsistent, for, 
in public life, to agree with another on a party question is all that is 
required ; the thousand questions not yet ripened, and lying dark and 
concealed in the future, are not inquired into and divined ; but I own 
1 shall deem myself worse than inconsistent. Eor this is my dilemma, 
— if I use this noble spirit merely to advance one object, and then 
desert him where he halts, I am treacherous to him ; if I halt with 
him. but one of my objects is effected, I am treacherous to myself. 
Sucn are my views. It is with pain I arrive at them, for, at first, my 
heart beat with a selfish ambition." 

" You are right, vou are right," exclaimed Florence, with glowing 
cheeks ; " how could I doubt you ? I comprehend the sacrifice you 
make ; for a proud thing is it to soar above the predictions of foes in 
that palpable road to honour which the world's hard eyes can see, and 
the world's cold heart can measure ; but prouder is it to feel that you 
have never advanced one step to thegoal, which remembrance would 
retract. No, my friend, wait your time, confident that it must come, 
when conscience and ambition can go hand-in-hand — when the broad 
objects of a luminous and enlarged policy he before you like a chart, 
and you can calculate every step oi the way without peril of being 
lost/ All, let them still call loftiness of purpose and whiteness of soul 
the dreams of a theorist, — even if they be so, the Ideal in this case is 
better than the Practical. Meanwhile your position is not one to for- 
feit lightly. Before you is that throne m literature which it requires 
no doubtful step to win, if you have,_as I believe, the mental power 
to attain it. An ambition that may indeed be relinquished, if a more 
troubled career can better achieve those public purposes at which 
both letters and policy should aim, but which is not to be surrendered 
for the rewards of a placeman, or the advancement of a courtier." 



220 jJitXEST iLA.bTIlAVEU». 

It was while uttering these noble and inspiring sentiments, that 
Florence Lascelles suddenly acquired in Ernes't's eye a loveliness with 
which they had not before invested her. 

" Oh," he said, as, with a sudden impulse, he lifted her hand to his 
lips, " blessed be the hour in which you gave me your friendship ! 
These are the thoughts I have longed to hear Irom living lips, when 
I have been tempted to believe patriotism a delusion, and virtue but 
:i name." 

Lady Florence heard, and her whole form seemed changed, — she 
was no longer the majestic sibyll, but the attached, timorous, delighted 
woman. 

It so happened that in her confusion she dropped from her hand the 
flower Maltravers had given her, and involuntardy glad of a pretext 
to conceal her countenance, she stooped to take it from the ground. 
In so doing, a letter fell from her bosom — and Maltravers, as he bent 
forwards to forestall her own movement, saw that the direction was 
to himself, and in the handwriting of his unknown correspondent. He 
seized the letter, and gazed in nattered and entranced astonishment, 
first on the writing, next on the detected writer. Florence grew 
deadly pale, and covering her face with her hands, burst into tears. 

" d fool that I was," cried Ernest, in the passion of the moment, 
" not to know — not to have felt that there were not two Florences in 
the world ! But if the thought had crossed me, I would not have 
dared to harbour it." 

" Go, go " sobbed Florence ; " leave me, in mercy leave me ! " 

" Not till you bid me rise," said Ernest, in emotion scarcely less 
deep than hers, as he sank on his knee at her feet. 

Need I go on ? — When they left that spot, a soft confession had 
been made— deep vows interchanged, and Ernest Maltravers was the 
aocepted suitor of Florence Lascelles. 



CHAPTER HI. 

" A hundred fatheir, would in my situation tell you that, as you are of noble 
extraction, vou should marry a nobleman. But 1 do not say so. I will not sacrifice 
my child to any prejudice." — Kotzebue : Lover's Vows. 

" Take heed, my lord ; the welfare of us all 
Hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man." 

Shakspeare* Henry Vl a 
" O, how this spring of love resembleth 
Th' uncertain glory of an April day ; 
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun, 
And by-and-by a cioud takes all away ! " 

Shakspeark : The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 

When Maltravers was once more in his solitary apartment, he felt 
as in a dream. He had obeyed an impulse, irresistible, perhaps, but 
one with which the conscience of his heart was not satisfied. A voice 
whispered to him, "Thou hast deceived her and thyself — thou dost 
not love her !" In vain he recalled her beauty, her grace, her genius 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 221 

—tier singular and enthusiastic passion for himself — the voice still re- 
plied, " Thou dost not love. Bid farewell for ever to thy fond dreams 
of a life more blessed than that of mortals. From the stormy sea of 
rhe future are blotted out eternally for thee— Calypso and her Golden 
Isle. Thou canst no more paint on the dim canvas of thy desires the 
form of her with whom thou couldst dwell for ever. Thou hast been 
unfaithful to thine own ideal — thou hast given thyself for ever and 
for ever to another — thou hast renounced hope — thou must live as in 
a prison, with a being with whom thou hast not the harmony of love." 

" No matter," said Maltravers, almost alarmed, and starting from 
these thoughts, "lam betrothed to one who loves me — it is folly and 
dishonour to repent and to repine. I have gone through the best 
j ears of youth without finding the Egeria with whom the cavern 
would be sweeter than a throne. Why live to the grave a vain and 
visionary Nympholept? Out of the real world could I nave made a 
nobler choice?" 

While Maltravers thus communed with himself, Lady Florence 
passed into her father's dressing-room, and there awaited his return 
from London. She knew his worldly views — she knew also the pride 
of her affianced, and she felt that she alone could mediate between 
the two. 

Lord Saxingham at last returned ; busy, bustling, important, and 
good-humoured as usual. " Well, Flory, well ? — glad to see you — 
quite blooming, I declare, — never saw you with such a colour — 
monstrous like me, certainly. We always 'had fine complexions and 
fine eyes in our family. But I'm rather late — first bell rung — we ci- 
devant jeunes hommes are rather long dressing, and you are not dressed 
yet, I see." 

"My dearest father, I wished to speak with you on a matter of 
much importance." 

"Do you ! — what, immediately ? " 

"Yes." 

" Well — what is it ? — your Slingsby property, 1 suppose." 

" No, my dear father — pray sit down and hear me patiently." 

Lord Saxingham began to be both alarmed and curious — he 
seated himself in silence, and looked anxiously in the face of his 
daughter. 

" You have always been vary indulgent to me," commenced Florence, 
with a half-smile, " and I have had my own way more than most 
young ladies. Believe me, my dear father, I am most grateful, not 
only for your affection, but your esteem. I have been a strange wild 
girl, but I am now about to reform ; and as the first step, I ask your 
consent to give myself a preceptor and a guide— — " 

" A what !" cried Lord Saxingham. 

" In other words, I am about to — to — well, the truth must out — to 
marry." 

" Has the Duke of been here to-day?" 

" Not that I know of. But it is no duke to whom I nave promised 
my hand — it is a nobler and rarer dignity that has caught my ambition. 
Mr. Maltravers has " 

" Mr. Maltravers !— Mr. Devil ! — the girl's mad ! — don't talk to me, 



KfiS ERNEST SIALTicaVEKS. 

child, I won't consent to any such nonsense. A country gentleman- 
very respectable, very clever, and all that, but it's no use talking — mj 
mind's made up. With your fortune, too !" 

" My dear father, I will not marry without your consent, though 
my fortune is settled on me, and I am of age." 

" There's a good child — and now let me dress — we shall be 
late." 

" Eo, not yet," said Lady Florence, throwing her arm carelessly 
round her father's neck — " I shall marry Mr. Maltravers, but it will 
be Math your full approval. Just consider; if I married the Duke 

of , he would expect all my fortune, such as it is. Ten thousand 

a year is at my disposal : if I marry Mr. Maltravers, it will be settled 
on you — I always meant it — it is a poor return for your kindness, 
your indulgence — but it will show that your own Flory is not un- 
grateful." 

"I won't hear." 

" Stop — listen to reason. You are not rich — you are entitled but 
to a small pension if you ever resign office ; and your official salary, I 
have often heard you say, does not prevent you from being embar- 
rassed. To whom should a daughter give from her superfluities, but 
to a parent ? — from whom should a parent receive, but from a child, 
who can never repay his love ? — Ah, this is nothing ; but you — you who 
have never crossed her lightest whim — do not you destroy all the 
hopes of happiness your Florence can ever form." 

Florence wept, and Lord Saxingham, who was greatly moved, let 
fall a few tears also. Perhaps it is too much to say that the pecuniary 
part of the proffered arrangement entirely won him over ; but still 
the way it was introduced softened his heart. He possibly thought 
that it was better to have a good and grateful daughter in a country 
gentleman's wife, than a sullen and thankless one in a duchess. 
However that may be, certain it is, that before Lord Saxingham 
began his toilet, he promised to make no obstacle to the marriage, 
and all he asked in return was, that at least three months (but that 
indeed the lawyers would require) should elapse before it took place ; 
and on this understanding Florence left him, radiant and joyous as 
Flora herself, when the sun of spring makes the world a garden. 
Never had she thought so little of her beauty, and never had it seemed 
so glorious, as that happy evening. But Maltravers was pale and 
thoughtful, and Florence in vain sought his eyes during the dinner, 
which seemed to her insufferably long. Afterwards, however, they 
met, and conversed apart the rest of the evening; and the beauty of 
Florence began to produce upon Ernest's heart its natural effect ; and 
that evening — ah, how Florence treasured the remembrance of every 
hour, every minute of its annals ! 

It would have been amusing to witness the short conversation be- 
tween Lord Saxingham and Maltravers, when the latter sought the earl 
at night in his lordship's room. To Lord Saxingham's surprise, not 
a word did Maltravers utter of his own subordinate pretensions to 
Lady Florence's hand. Coldly, drily, and almost haughtily, did he 
make the formal proposals, " as if [as Lord Saxingham afterwards said 
to Ferrers] the man were doing me the highest possible honour in 



EKNEST MALTJsaVERS. JM& 

taking my daughter, the beauty of London, with fifty thousand a year, 
off my hands." But this was quite Maltravers !— if he had been pro- 
posing to the daughter of a country curate, without a sixpence., he 
would have been the humblest of the humble. The earl was embar- 
rassed and discomposed — he was almost awed by the Siddons-like 
countenance and Coriolanus-like air of his future son-in-law — he 
even hinted nothing of the compromise as to time which he had made 
with his daughter. He thought it better ta leave it to Lady Florence 
to arrange that matter. They shook hands frigidly, and parted. Mal- 
traver's went next into Cleveland's room, and communicated all to 
the delighted old man, whose congratulations were so fervid that 
Maltravers felt it would be a sin not to fancy himself the happiest man 
in the world. . That night he wrote Ins refusal of the appointment 
offered him. 

The next day Lord Saxingham went to his office in Downing Street 
as usual, and Lady Florence and Ernest' found an opportunity to 
ramble through the grounds alone. 

There it was that occurred those confessions, sweet alike to utter 
and to hear. Then did Florence speak of her early years — of her 
self-formed and solitary mind — of her youthful dreams and reveries. 
Nothing around her to excite interest or admiration, or the more 
romantic, the higher, or the softer qualities of her nature, she turned 
to contemplation and to books. It is the combination of the faculties 
with the affections, exiled from action, and finding no worldly vent, 
which produces Poetry, the child of passion and of thought. Hence, 
before the real cares of existence claim them, the young, Avho are 
abler yet lonelier than their fellows, are nearly always poets : and 
Florence was a poetess. In minds like this, the first book that seems 
to embody and represent their own most cherished and beloved trains 
of sentiment and ideas, ever creates a reverential and deep enthu- 
siasm. The lonely, and proud, and melancholy soul of Maltravers, 
which made itself visible m all his creations, became to Florence like 
a revealer of the secrets of her own nature. She conceived an intense 
and mysterious interest in the man whose mind exercised so per- 
vading a power over her own. She made herself acquainted with his 
pursuits, Iris career — she fancied she found a symmetry and harmony 
between the actual being and the breathing genius — she imagined she 
understood what seemed dark and obscure to others. He whom she had 
never seen, grew to her a never-absent friend. His ambition, his reputa 
tion, were to her like a possession of her own. So at length, in the folly 
of her young romance, she wrote to him, and dreaming of no dis- 
covery, anticipating no result, the habit once indulged became to 
her that luxury which writing for the eye of the world is to 
an author oppressed witli the burthen of his own thoughts. At length 
she saw him, and he did not destroy her illusion. She might have 
recovered from the spell if she had found him ready at once to worship 
at her shrine. The mixture of reserve and frankness — frankness of 
language, reserve of manner — which belonged to Maltravers, piqued 
her. Her vanity became the auxiliary to her 'magination. At length 
they met at Cleveland's house ; their intercourse became more unre- 
strained— their friendship was established, and she discovered that 



22i ERNEST MALTKAVEES. 

slie had wilfully implicated her happiness in indulging her dreamt) ; 
yet even then she believed that Maltravers loved her, despite his 
silence upon the subject of love. His manner, his words bespoke his 
interest in her, and his voice was ever soft when he spoke to women ; 
for he had much of the old chivalric respect and tenderness for the 
sex. What was general it was natural that she should apply indi- 
vidually — she who had walked the world but to fascinate and to con- 
quer. It was probable that her great wealth and social position 
imposed a check on the delicate pride of Maltravers — she hoped 
so — she believed it — yet she felt her danger, and her own pride at last 
took alarm. In such a moment she had resumed the character of the 
unknown correspondent — she had written to Maltravers — addressed 
her letter to his own house, and meant the next day to have gone to 
London, and posted it there. In this letter she had spoken of his 
visit to Cleveland, of his position with herself. She exhorted him, if 
he loved her, to confess, and if not, to fly. She had written artfully 
and eloquently ; she was desirous of expediting her own fate ; and 
then, with that letter in her bosom, she had met Maltravers, and the 
reader has learned the rest. Something of all this the blushing and 
happy Florence now revealed : and when she ended with uttering the 
woman's soft fear that she had been too bold, is it wonderful that 
Maltravers, clasping her to his bosom, felt the gratitude, and the 
delighted vanity, wMch seemed even to himself like love ? And into 
love those feelings rapidly and deliriously will merge, if fate and ac- 
cident permit ! 

And now they were by the side of the water; and the sun was 
gently setting as on the eve before. It was about the same hour, the 
fairest of an autumn day ; none were near — the slope of the hill hid 
the house from their view. Had they been in the desert they could 
not have been more alone. It was not silence that breathed around 
them, as they sat on that bench with the broad beech spreading oyer 
them Jfc^.. trembling canopy of leaves ;— but those murmurs of living 
nature which are sweeter than silence itself — the songs of birds— the 
tinkling bell of the sheep on the opposite bank— the wind sighing 
through the trees, and the gentle heaving of the glittering waves that 
washed the odorous reed and water-lily at their feet. They had both 
been for some moments silent ; and Florence now broke the pause, but 
in tones more low than usual. 

" Ah !" said she, turning towards him, "these hours are happier 
than we can find in that crowded world whither your destiny must 
call us. For me, ambition seems for ever at an end. I have found 
all ; I am no longer haunted with the desire of gaining a vague some- 
thing, — a shadowy empire, that we call fame or power. The sole 
thought that disturbs the calm current of my soul, is the fear to lose 
a particle of the rich possession I have gained." 

"May your fears ever be as idle !" 

" And you really love me ! I repeat to myself ever and ever that 
one phrase. I could once have borne to lose you, — now, it would be 
my death. I despaired of ever being loved for myself ; my wealth was 
a fatal dower ; I suspected avarice in every vow, and saw the base 
world lurk at the bottom of every heart that offered itself at my 



EKXEST MALTBAVERS. 224 

ihrine. But you, Ernest — you, I feel, never could weigh gold in the 
balance— and vou— if you love — love me for myself." 

" And I shall love tliee more with every hour." 

" I know not that : I dread that you will love me less when you 
blow me more. I fear I shall seem to you exacting — I am jealous 

already. I was jealous even of Lady T , when I saw you by her 

side t his morning. I would have your every look — monopolise your 
every word." 

This confession did not please Maltravers, as it might have done if 
he had been more deeply in love. Jealousy, in a woman of so vehe- 
ment and imperious a nature, was indeed a passion to be dreaded. 

" Do not say so, dear Florence," said he, with a very grave smile : 
•* for love should have implicit confidence as its bond and nature — and 
jealousy is doubt, and doubt is the death of love." 

A shade passed over Florence's too expressive face, and she sighed 
heavily. 

It was at this time that Maltravers, raising his eyes, saw the form 
of Lumley Ferrers approaching towards them from the opposite end 
of the terrace : at the same instant, a dark cloud crept over the sky, 
the waters seemed overcast, and the breeze fell : a chill and strange 
presentiment of evil shot across Ernest's heart, and, like many 
imaginative persons, he was unconsciously superstitious as to pre- 
sentiments. 

" We are no longer alone," said he, rising ; " your cousin has doubt- 
less learned our engagement, and comes to congratulate your suitor." 

" Tell me," he continued musingly, as they walked on to meet 
Ferrers, " are you very partial to Lumley ? what think you of his 
character? — it is one that perplexes me; sometimes I think that it 
has changed since we parted in Italy — sometimes I think that it has 
not changed, but ripened." 

"Lumley I have known from a child," replied Florence, "and see 
much to admire and like in him ; I admire his boldness and candour • 
his scorn of the world's littleness and falsehood ; I like his^good- 
nature — his gaiety — and fancy his heart better than it may seem to 
the superficial observer." 

" Yet he appears to me selfish and unprincipled." 

" It is from a fine contempt for the vices and follies of men that \c, 
has contracted the habit of consulting lus own resolute will — and, be- 
lieving everything done in this noisy stage of action a cheat, he has 
accommodated his ambition to the fashion. Though without what is 
termed genius, he will obtain a distinction and power that few men 
of genius arrive at." 

" Because genius is essentially honest," said Maltravers. " However, 
you teach me to look on him more indulgently. I suspect the real 
frankness of men whom I know to be hypocrites in public life — but 
perhaps, I judge by too harsh a standard." 

" Third persons," said Ferrers, as he now joined them, " are seldom 
unwelcome in the country ; and I flatter myself that I am the exact 
thing wanting to complete the charm of this beautiful landscape." 

" You are ever modest, my cousin." 

' It is my weak side, I know ; but I shall improve with years and 

<i 



*»S ERNEST MALTKAVEES. 

■wisdom. Wliat say you, Maltravers?" and Ferrers passed his arm 
affectionately through Ernest's. 

" By the bye, I am too familiar — I am sunk in the world. I am a 
wring to be sneered at by you old-family people. I am next heir to a 
Dran-new Brummagem peerage. Gad, I feel brassy already !" 

" What, is Mr. Templeton ? " 

" Mr. Templeton no more : he is defunct, extinguished — out of the 
ashes rises the phoenix Lord Vargrave. We had thought of a more 
Bounding title ; De Courval has a nobler sound, — but my good uncle 
has nothing of the Norman about him ; so we dropped the De as 
ridiculous— Vargrave is euphonious and appropriate. My uncle has 
a manor of that name — Baron Vargrave of Vargrave." 

" Ah — I congratulate you." 

" Thank you. Lady Vargrave may destroy all my hopes yet. But 
nothing venture, nothing have. My uncle will be gazetted today. 
Poor man, he will be delighted ; and as he certainly owes it much to 
me, he will, I suppose, be very grateful — or hate me ever afterwards 
— that is a toss up. A benefit conferred is a complete hazard between 
the thumb of pride and the fore-finger of affection. Heads gratitude, 
tails hatred ! There, that's a simile in the fashion of the old writers • 
' Well of English undefiled !' humph !" 

"So that beautiful child is Mrs. Templeton's, or rather Lady Mar- 
grave's, daughter by a former marriage?" said Maltravers, abstractedly. 

" Yes, it is astonishing how fond he is of her. Pretty little creature 
— confoundedly artful, though. By the way, Maltravers, we had an 
■unexpectedly stormy night the last of the session — strong division — 
ministers hard pressed. I made quite a good speech for them. I 
suppose, however, there will be some change — the moderates will be 
taken in. Perhaps by next session I may congratulate you." 

Ferrers looked hard at Maltravers while he spoke. But Ernest 
replied coldly, and evasively, and they were now joined by a party of 
idlers, lounging along the lawn in expectation of the first dinner bell. 
Cleveland was in high consultation about the proper spot for a new 
fountain ; and he summoned Maltravers to give his opinion whether 
it should spring from the centre of a flower-bed or beneath the droop- 
ing shade of a large willow. While this interesting discussion was 
going on, Ferrers drew aside his cousin, and pressing her hand affec- 
tionately, said, in a soft and tender voice — 

" My dear Florence — for in such a time permit me to be familiar — 
I understand from Lord Saxingham, whom I met in London, that 
you are engaged to Maltravers. Busy as I was, I could not rest 
without coming hither to offer my best and most earnest wish for 
your happiness. I may seem a careless, I am considered a selfish, 
person ; but my heart is warm to those wno really interest it. And 
never did brother offer up for the welfare of a beloved sister prayers 
more anxious and fond, than those that poor Lumley Ferrers breathes 
for Florence Lascelles." 

Florence was startled and melted — the whole tone and manner ot 
Lumley was so different from those he usually assumed. She warmly 
returned the pressure of his hand, and thanked him briefly, but with 
emotion. 



ERNEST MALTRAVEHS. 227 

" No one is great and good enough tor you, Florence," continued 
Ferrers — " no one. But I admire your disinterested and generous 
choice. Maltravers and I have not been friends lately ; but I respect 
hi.ii, as all must. lie has noble qualities, and he lias great ambition. 
Jn addition to the deep and ardent love that you cannot fail to inspire, 
he will owe you eternal gratitude. In this aristocratic country, your 
hand secures to him the most brilliant fortunes, the most proud career, 
His talents will now be measured by a very different standard. His 
merits will not pass through any subordinate grades, but leap at once 
into the highest posts ; and, as he is even more proud than ambitious, 
how he must bless one who raises him, without effort, into positions 
of eminent command ! " 

" Oh, he does not think of such worldly advantages — he, the too 
pure, the too refined ! " said Florence, with trembling eagerness. 
He has no avarice, nothing mercenary in his nature !" 

" No ; there you indeed do him justice, — there is not a particle of 
baseness in lus mind — I did not say there was. The very greatness of 
his aspirations, his indignant and scornful pride, lift him above the 
thought of your wealth, your rank, — except as means to an end." 

" You mistake still," said Florence, faintly smiling, but turning 
pale. 

" No," resumed Ferrers, not appearing to hear her, and as if pur- 
suing his own thoughts. " I always predicted that Maltravers would 
make a distinguished connection in marriage. He would not permit 
himself to love the low-born or the poor. His affections are in his 
pride as much as in his heart. He is a great creature — you have 
judged wisely — and may Heaven bless you!" 

With these words, Ferrers left her, and Florence, when she 
descemled to dinner, wore a moody and clouded brow. Ferrers stayed 
three days at the house. He was peculiarly cordial to Maltravers, 
and spoke little to Florence. But that little never failed to leave 
upon her mind a jealous and anxious irritability, to which she yielded 
■with morbid facility. In order perfectly to understand Florence Las- 
celles, it must be remembered that, with all her dazzling qualities, she 
was not what is called a loveable person. A certain hardness in her 
disposition, even as a child, had prevented her winding into the hearts 
of those around her. Deprived of her mother's care— having little or 
no intercourse with children of her own age — brought up with a 
starched governess, or female relations, poor and proud — she never 
had contracted the softness of manner which the reciprocation of 
household affections usua'ly produces. With a haughty consciousness 
of her powers, her birth, her position, advantages always dinned into 
her ear, she grew up solitary, unsocial, and imperious. Her father 
was rather proud than fond of her — her servants did not love her — she 
had too little consideration for others, too little blandness and suavity 
to be loved by inferiors— she was too learned and too stern to find 
pleasure in the conversation and society of young ladies of her own 
age : — she had no friends. Now, having really strong affections, she 
felt all this, but rather with resentment than grief — she longed to be 
loved, but did not seek to be so — she felt as if it was her fate not to 
be loved — she blamed 1 ate, not herself. 



228 EKtfEST MAXTKAVEB3. 

When, with all the proud, pure, and generous candour of her nature 
she avowed to Ernest her love him, she naturally expected the mosl 
ardent and passionate return ; nothing less could content her. Bui 
the habit and experience of ail the past made her eternally suspicious 
that she was not loved; it was wormwood and poison to her to fancj 
that Maltravers had ever considered her advantages of fortune, excepl 
as a bar to his pretensions and a check on his passion. It was the 
same thing to her, whether it was the pettiest avarice or the loftiesl 
aspirations that actuated her lover, if he had been, actuated in his hearl 
by any sentiment but love ; and Ferrers, to whose eye her foibles ^ere 
familiar, knew well how to make his praises of Ernest arouse againsl 
Ernest all her exacting jealousies and irritable doubts. 

" It is strange," said he, one evening, as he was conversing wit! 
Florence, " how complete and triumphant a conquest you have effected 
over Ernest ! Will you believe it ? — he conceived a prejudice against 
you when he first saw you — he even said that you were made to be 
admired, not to be loved." 

" Ha ! did he so ? — true, true — he has almost said the same thing 
to me." 

" But now how he must love you ! Surely he has all the signs." 

" And what are the signs, mos'„ learned Lumley ? " said Florence, 
forcing a smile. 

" Why, in the first place, you will doubtless observe that he nevct 
takes his eyes from you — with whomsoever he converses, whatevci 
his occupation, those eyes, restless and pining, wander around for one 
glance from you." 

Florence sighed, and looked up — at the other end of the room, nei 
lover was conversing with Cleveland, and his eyes never wandered in 
search of her. 

Ferrers did not seem to notice this practical contradiction of his 
theory, but went on. 

" Then surely his whole character is changed — that brow has lost 
its calm majesty, that deep voice its assured and tranquil tone. Has 
he not become humble, and embarrassed, and fretful, living only on 
your smile, reproachful if you look upon another — sorrowful if yout 
lip be less smiling— a thing of doubt, and dread, and trembling agita- 
tion — slave to a shadow — no longer lord of the creation ? — Such is 
love, such is the love you should inspire — such is the love Maltravers 
is capable of— for I have seen him testify it to another. But," 
added Lumley, quickly, and as if afraid he had said too much, " Lord 
Saxingham is looking out for me to make up his whist- table. I go 
to-morrow — when shall you be in town ? " 

" In the course of the week," said poor Florence mechanically ; ana 
Lumley walked away. 

In another moment, Maltravers, who had been more observant than 
he seemed, joined her where she sat. 

" Dear Florence," said he, tenderly, " you look pale — I fear you are 
not so well this evening." 

" No affectation of an interest you do not feel, pray," said Florence, 
with a scornful lip but swimming eves. 

"Do not feel, Florence ! " 



ERNEST MALTRAVE118. 229 

" It is the first time, at least, that you have observed whether I am 
we!! or ill. But it is no matter." 

" My dear Florence, — why this tone? — how have I offended you? 
Has Lumley said " 

" Nothing but in your praise. Oh, be not afraid, you are one of 
those of whom all speak highly. But do not let me detain you here ! 
let us join our host — you have left him alone." 

Lady Florence waited for no reply, nor did Maltravers attempt to 
detain her. He looked pained, and when she turned round to catch a 
glance, that she hoped would be reproachful, he was gone. Lady 
Florence became nervous and uneasy, talked she knew not what, and 
laughed hysterically. She, however, deceived Cleveland into the 
notion that she was in the best possible spirits. 

By-and-by she rose, and passed through the suite of rooms : her 
heart was with Maltravers — still he was not visible. At length she 
entered the conservatory, and there she observed him, through the 
open casements, walking slowly, with folded arms, upon the moonlit 
lawn. There was a short struggle in her breast between woman's 
pride and woman's love ; the last conquered, and she joined him. 

" Forgive me, Ernest," she said, extending her hand, " I was to 
blame." 

Ernest kissed the fair hand, and answered touchingly — 

"Florence, you have the power to wound me, be forbearing 
in its exercise. Heaven knows that I would not, from the vain 
desire of showing command over you, inflict upon you a single pang. 
Ah ! do not fancy that in lovers' quarrels there is any sweetness that 
compensates the sting." 

" I told you I was too exacting, Ernest. I told you, you would not 
love me so well, when you knew me better." 

" And were a false prophetess. Florence, every day, every hour I 
love you more — better than I once thought I could." 

"Then," cried this wayward girl, anxious to pain herself, "then 
once you did not love me ? " 

" Florence, I will be candid — I did not. You are now rapidly 
obtaining an empire over me, greater than my reason should allow. 
But, beware : if my love be really a possession you desire, — beware 
how you arm my reason against you. Florence, I am a proud man. 
My very consciousness of the more splendid alliances you could form 
renders me less humble a lover than you might find in others. 1 were 
not worthy of vou if I were not tenacious of my self-respect." 

" Ah ! " said Florence, to whose heart these words went home, 
'"' forgive me but this once. I shall not forgive myself so soon." 

And Ernest drew her to his heart, and felt that with all her faults, 
a woman whom he feared he could not render as happy as her sacrifices 
to him deserved, was becoming very dear to him. In his heart he 
knew that she was not formed to render him happy : but that was not 
his thought, his fear. Her love had rooted out all thought of self 
from that generous breast. His only anxiety was to requite her. 

They walked along the sward, silent, thoughtful; and Florence 
melancholy, yet blessed. 

•'That serene heaven, those lovely stars,'' said Maltravers at last* 



230 ERNEST MALTKATERS. 

" do they not preach to us the Philosophy of Peace ? Do they not 
tell us how much of calm belongs to the dignity of man, and the 
sublime essence of the soul. Petty distractions and self-wrought 
cares are not congenial to our real nature ; their very disturbance is a 
proof that they are at war with our natures. Ah, sweet Florence, let 
us learn from yon skies, over which, in the faith of the Poets of old, 
brooded the wings of primaeval and serenest Love, what earthly love 
should be, — a thing pure as light, and peaceful as immortality, watch- 
ing over the stormy world, that it shall survive, and high above the 
clouds and vapours that roll below. Let little minds introduce into 
the holiest of affections all the bitterness and tumuli of common life ' 
Let us love as beings who will one day be inhabitants of the stars ! " 



CHAPTER IV. 

" A slippery and subtle knave; a finder out of occasions, that has an eye can 
stamp and counterfeit advantages." — Othello. 

" Knavery's plain face is never seen till used." — Ibid. 

" You see, my dear Lumley," said Lord Saxingham, as the next day 
the two kinsmen were on their way to London in the earl's chariot, 
" you see that, at the best, this marriage of Flory's is a cursed bore." 

"Why, indeed, it has its disadvantages. Maltravers is a gentleman 
and a man of genius ; but gentlemen are plentiful, and his genius 
only tells against us, since he is not even of our politics." 

" Exactly, my own son-in-law voting against me ! " 

"A practicable, reasonable man would change: not so Maltravers 
— and all the estates, and all the parliamentary influence, and all the 
Wealth that ought to go with the family and with the party, go out of 
the family and against the party. You are quite right, my dear lord 
— it is a cursed bore." 

" And she might have had the Duke of , a man with a rental 

of 100,000/. a year. It is too ridiculous. — This Maltravers,— d—d 
disagreeable fellow, too, eh?" 

" Stiff and stately — much changed for the worst of late years- 
grown conceited and set up." 

" Do you know, Lumley, I would rather, of the two, have had you 
for my son-in-law." 

Lumley half started. " Are you serious, my lord ? I have not 
Ernest's fortune — I cannot make such settlements : my lineage too, 
at least on my mother's side, is less ancient." 

" Oh, as to settlements, Flory's fortune ought to be settled on Her- 
self, — and as compared with that fortune, what could Mr. Maltravers 
pretend to settle? — Neither she nor any children she may have could 
want his 4,000/. a year, if he settled it all. As for family, connections 
tell more now-a-days than Norman descent, — and for the rest, you are 
likely to be old Templeton's heir, to have a peerage (a large sum of 
ready money is always useful) — are rising in the House — one of our 



EKNF.ST MALTRAVERS. 23L 

own set — will soon be in office — and, flattery apart, a devilish good 
fellow into the bargain. Oh, I would sooner a thousand times that 
1'lory had taken a fancy to you !" 

Lumley Ferrers bowed his head but said nothing. He fell into a 
reverie, and Lord Saxingham took up his official red box, became deep 
in its contents, and forgot all about the marriage of his daughter. 

Lumley pulled the check-string as the carriage entered Pall Mall, 
and desired to be set down at the "Travellers." While Lord Sax- 
ingham was borne on to settle the affairs of the nation, not being able 
to settle those of his own household, Ferrers was inquiring the address 
of Castruccio Cesarini. The porter was unable to give it him. The 
Signor generally called every day for his notes, but no one at the club 
knew where lie lodged. Ferrers wrote, and left with the porter, a 
line requesting Cesarini to call on him as soon as possible, and bent 
his way to his house in Great George Street. He went straight into 
his library, unlocked his escritoire, and took out that letter which, the 
reader will remember, Maltravers had written to Cesarini, and which 
Lumley had secured : carefully dio. he twice read over this effusion, 
and the second time his face brightened and his eyes sparkled. It is 
now time to lay this letter before the reader : it ran thus : — 

"Private and confidential." 
"My dear Cesarini, 

" The assurance of your friendly feelings is most welcome to me. 
In much of what you say of marriage, I am inclined, though with 
reluctance, to agree. As to Lady Florence herself, few persons are 
more calculated to dazzle, perhaps to fascinate. But is she a person 
to make a home happy — to sympathise where she has been accustomed 
to command — to comprehend, and to yield to the waywardness and 
irritability common to our fanciful and morbid race — to content her- 
self with the homage of a single heart ? I do not know her enough 
to decide the question ; but I know her enough to feel deep solicitude 
and anxiety for your happiness, if centered in a nature so imperious 
and so vain. But you will remind me of her fortune, her station. 
You will say that such are the sources from which, to an ambitious 
mind ; happiness may well be drawn ! Alas ! I fear that the man who 
marries Lady Florence must indeed confine his dreams of felicity to 
those harsh and disappointing realities. But, Cesarini, these are not 
the words which, were we more intimate, I would address to you. I 
doubt the reality of those affections which you ascribe to her, and 
suppose devoted to yourself. She is evidently fond of conquest. She 
sports with the victims she makes. Her vanity dupes others, — perhaps 
to be duped itself at last. I will not say more to you. 

"Yours, 

"E. Maltravers." 

" Hurrah ! " cried Ferrers, as he threw down the letter, and rubbed 
his hands with delight. " I little thought, when I schemed for this 
letter, that chance would make it so inestimably serviceable. There 
is less to alter than I thought for — the clumsiest botcher in the world 



232 ERNEST THALTKAVEHS. 

could manage it. Let me look again. — Hem, hem — the first phrase 
to alter is this : — ' I know her enough to feel deep solicitude and 
anxiety for your happiness, if centered in a nature so imperious and 
vain' — scratch out 'your,' and put 'my.' All the rest good, good- 
till we come to 'affections winch you ascribe to her, and suppose 
devoted to yourself — for 'yourself ' write ' myself ' — the rest will do. 
Now, then, the date — we must change it to the present month, and 
the work is done. I wish that Italian blockhead would come. If I 
can but once make an irreparable breach between her and Maltravers, 
I think I cannot fail of securing his place ; her pique, her resentment 
will hurry her into taking the first who offers, by way of revenge. 
And, by Jupiter, even if I fail (which I am sure I shall not), it will 
be something to keep Flory as lady paramount for a duke of our own 
party. I shall gain immensely by such a connection ; but I lose every- 
thing and gain nothingby her marrying Maltravers — of opposite politics 
too — whom 1 begin to hate like poison. But no duke shall have 
her — Florence Ferrers, the only alliteration I ever liked — yet it would 
sound rough in poetry. 

Lumley then deliberately drew towards him his inkstand — " No 
penknife ! — Ah, true, I never mend pens — sad waste — must send out 
tor one." He rang the bell, ordered a penknife to be purchased, 
and the servant was still out when a knock at the door was neard, and 
in a minute more Cesarini entered. 

" Ah," said Lumley, assuming a melancholy air, " I am glad that 
you are arrived ; you will excuse my having written to you so un- 
ceremoniously. You received my note — sit down, pray — and how are 
you ? — you look delicate — can I offer you anything?" 

" Wine," said Cesarini, laconically, " wine ; your climate requires 
wine." 

Here the servant entered with the penknife, and was ordered to 
bring wine and sandwiches. Lumley then conversed lightly on 
different matters til the wine appeared ; he was rather surprised to 
observe Cesarini pour out and drink off glass upon glass, with an 
evident craving for the excitement. When he had satisfied himself, 
he turned his dark eyes to Ferrers, and said, " You have news to 
communicate, I see it in your brow. I am now ready to hear all." 

" Well, then, listen to me ; you were right in your suspicions ; 
jealousy is ever a true diviner. I make no doubt Othello was quite 
right, and Desdemona was no better than she should be. Maltravers 
has proposed to my cousin, and been accepted." 

Cesarini's complexion grew perfectly ghastly; his whole frame 
shook like a leaf — for a moment ne seemed paralysed. 

" Curse him ! " said he, at last, drawing a deep breath, and betwixt 
nis grinded teeth — " curse him, from the depths of the heart he has 
broken?" 

" And after such a letter to you ! — do you remember it ? — here it is. 
He warns you against Lady Florence, and then secures her to himself 
— is this treachery ?" 

" Treachery,_ black as hell! I am an Italian," cried Cesarini, 
springing to his feet, and with all the passions of his climate in his 
face, " and I w ill be avenged ! Bankrupt in fortune, ruined in hopes. 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS, 23S 

blasted in heart — I have still the godlike consolation of the desperate 
—I have revenge." 

" Will you call him outP" asked Lurmey, musingly and calmly. 
'' Are you a dead shot P If so, it is worth thinking about ; if not, it is 
a mockery — your shot misses, his goes in the air, seconds interpose, 
and you both walk away devilish glad to get off so well. Duels are 
numbug." 

" Mr. Ferrers," said Cessarini, fiercely, " this is not a matter of jest." 

" I do not make it a jest ; and what is more, Cesarini," said Ferrers, 
with a concentrated energy far more commanding than the Italian's 
fury, " what is more, I so detest Maltravers, I am so stung by his cold 
superiority, so wroth with his success, so loathe the thought of his 
alliance, that I would cut off this hand to frustrate that marriage ! I 
do not jest, man ; but I have method and sense in my hatred — it is our 
English way." 

Cesarini stared at the speaker gloomily, clenched his hand, muttered 
and strode rapidly to and fro the room. 

" You would be avenged, so would I. Now what shall be the 
means?" said Ferrers. 

" I will stab him to the heart — I will; " 

" Cease these tragic flights. Nay, frown and stamp not ; but sit 
down, and be reasonable, or leave me, and act for yourself." 

'' Sir," said Cesarini, with an eye that might have alarmed a man 
less resolute than Ferrers, "have a care how you presume on my 
distress." 

" You are in distress, and you refuse relief; you are bankrupt in 
fortune, and you rave like a poet, when you should be devising and 
plotting for the attainment of ooundless wealth. Revenge and ambi- 
tion may both be yours; but they are prizes never won but by a 
cautious foot as well as a bold hand." 

" What would you have me do ? and what but his life would content 
me?" 

" Take his life if you can — I have no objection — go and take it ; 
only just observe this, that if you miss your aim, or he, being the 
stronger man, strike you down, you will be locked up in a madhouse 
for the next year or two, at least : and that is not the place in which 
1 should like to pass the winter — but as you will." 

" You ! — you ! — But what are you to me ? I will go. Good day, 
sir." 

" Stay a moment," said Ferrers, when he saw Cesarini about to 
leave the room ; " stay, take this chair, and listen to me — you had 
better-^— " 

Cesarini hesitated, and then, as it were, mechanically obeyed. 

" Read that letter, which Maltravers wrote to you. You have 
finished — well — now observe — if Florence sees that letter, she will 
not and cannot marry the man who wrote it — you must show it 
to her." 

" Ah, my guardian angel, I see it all ! Yes, there are words in this 
letter no woman so proud could ever pardon. Give it me again, I will 
go at once." 

" Tshaw ! You are too quick ; you have not remarked that this 



231 ERNEST MAI/TRAVERS. 

letter was written five months ago, before Maltravers knew much of 
Lady Florence. He himself has confessed to her that he did not then 
love her — so much the more would she value the conquest she has 
now achieved. Florence would smile at this letter, and say, ' Ah, he 
judges me differently now.' " 

' Are you seeking to madden me ? What do you mean ? Did you 
not just now say that, did she see that letter, she would never marry 
the writer?" 

" Yeg, yes, but the letter must be altered. We must erase the date ; 
we must date it from to-day; — to-day — Maltravers returns to-day. 
We must suppose it written, not in answer to a letter from you, 
demanding his advice and opinion as to ypur marriage with Lady 
Florence, but in answer to a letter of yours in which you congratulate 
him on his approaching marriage to her. By the substitution of one 
pronoun for another, in two places, the letter will read as well one 
way as another. Read it again, and see; or stop, I will be the 
lecturer." 

Here Ferrers read over the letter, which, by the trifling substi- 
tutions he proposed, might indeed bear the character he wished to 
give it. 

" Does the light break in upon you now ?" said Ferrers. " Are you 
prepared to go through a part that requires subtlety, delicacy, address, 
and, above all, self-control ? — qualities that are the common attributes 
of your countrymen." 

' 1 will do all, fear me not. It may be villanous, it may be base ; 
but I care not, Maltravers shall not rival, master, eclipse me in all 
things." 

" Where are you lodging?" 

" Where ? — out of town a little way." 

" Take up your home with me for a few days. I cannot trust you 
out of my sight. Send for your luggage ; I have a room at your 
service." 

Cesarini at first refused; but a man who resolves on a crime, feels 
the awe of solitude, and the necessity of a companion. He went him- 
self to bring his effects, and promised to return to dinner. 

" I must own," said Lumley, resettling himself at his desk, " this 
is the dirtiest trick that ever I played ; but the glorious end sanctifies 
the paltry means. After all, it is the mere prejudice of gentlemanlike 
education." 

A very few seconds, and with the aid of the knife to erase, and the 
pen to re-write, Ferrers completed his task, with the exception of the 
change of date, which, on second thoughts, he reserved as a matter to 
be regulated by circumstances. 

" I think I have hit off his m's and y's tolerably," said he, " con- 
sidering I was not brought up to this sort of thing. But the alteration 
would be visible on close inspection. Cesarini must read the letter to 
her, then if she glances over it herself it will be with bewildered eyes 
and a dizzy brain. Above all, he must not leave it with her, and must 
bind her to the closest secresy. She is honourable, and will keep her 
word ; and so now that matter is settled. I have just time before 
dinner to canter down to my uncle's and wish the old fellow joy." 



BKNEST M.U.TUAVEK3 335 



CHAPTER V. 

' And then my lord has much that he would state 
All good to you." — Crabbk : Tales of the Heart. 

Lord Vargrave was sitting alone in his library, with his account- 
books before him. Carefully did he cast up the various sums, which, 
invested in various speculations, swelled his income. The result 
seemed satisfactory — and the rich man threw down his pen with an air 
of triumph. "1 will invest 120,000/. in land— only 120,000/. I will not 
be tempted to sink more. I will have a fine house — a house fitting for 
a nobleman — a fine old Elizabethan house — a house of historical in- 
terest. I must have woods and lakes — and a deer-park, above all. 
Deer are very gentlemanlike things, very. De Clifford's place is to be 
sold, 1 know ; they ask too much money for it, but ready money is 
tempting. I can bargain — bargain, I am a good hand at a bargain. 
Should I be now Lord Baron Vargrave, if I had always given people 
what they asked ? I will double my subscriptions to the Bible Society, 
and the Philanthropic, and the building of new churches. The world 
shall not say Richard Templeton does not deserve his greatness. I will 
Come in. Who's there — come in." 

The door gently opened— the meek face of the new peeress appeared. 
" I disturb you — I beg your pardon — I " 

" Come in, my dear, come m — I want to talk to you — I want to talk 
to vour ladyship — sit down, pray." 

Lady Vargrave obeyed. 

" You see," said the peer, crossing his legs, and caressing his left foot 
with both hands, whde he see-sawed his stately person to and fro in 
his chair — " you see that the honour conferred upon me will make a 
great change in our mode of life, Mrs. Temple , I mean Lady Var- 
grave. This villa is all very well — my country-house is not amiss for 
a country-gentleman — but now, we must support our rank. The 
landed estate I already possess will go with the title — go to Lumley — I 
snail buy another at my own disposal, one that I can feel thoroughly 
mine — it shall be a splendid place, Lady Vargrave." 

" This place is splendid to me," said Lady Vargrave, timidly. 

"This place! nonsense — you must learn loftier ideas, Lady Var- 
grave ; you are young, you can easily contract new habits, more easily 
perhaps than myself— you are naturally ladylike, though I say it — 
you have good taste, you don't talk much, you don't show your igno- 
rance — quite right. You must be presented at court, Lady Vargrave 
—we must give great dinners, Lady Vargrave. Balls are sinful, so is 
the opera, at least I fear so — yet an opera-box would be a proper ap- 
pendage to your rank, Lady Vargrave." 

" My dear Mr. Templeton " 

" Lord Vargrave, il your ladyship pleases." 



23C EKNEST MAI/TRAVERS. 

" I beg pardon. May you live long to enjoy your honours ; but I, 
niv dear lord — I am not fit to share them : it is only in our quiet 
life that I can forget what — what I was. You terrify me, when you 
talk of court — of " 

" Stuff, Lady Vargrave! stuff; we accustom ourselves to these things; 
Do I look like a man who has stood behind a counter ? — rank is a glove 
that stretches to the hand that wears it. And the child, dear child, — 
dear Evelyn, she shall be the admiration of London, the beauty, the 
heiress, the— oh, she will do me honour ! " 

" She will, she will ! " said Lady Vargrave, and the tears gushed 
from her eyes. 

Lord Vargrave was softened. 

" No mother ever deserved more from a child than you from 
Evelyn." 

" I would hope I have done my duty," said Lady Vargrave, drying 
her tears. 

" Papa, papa ! " cried an impatient voice, tapping at the window, 
" come and play, papa — come and play at ball, papa ! " 

And there, by the window, stood that beautiful child, glowing with 
health and mirth — her light hair tossed frcm her forehead, her sweet 
mouth dimpled with smiles. 

" My darling, go on the lawn, — don't over exert yourself— you have 
not quite recovered that horrid sprain — I will join you immediately — 
bless you ! " 

" Don't be long ? papa — nobody plays so nicely as you do ;" and, 
nodding and laughing from very glee, away scampered the young fairy. 

Lord Vargrave turned to his wile. 

" What think you of my nephew — of Lumley ? " said he, abruptly. 

" He seems all that is amiable, frank, and kind." 

Lord Vargrave's brow became thoughtful. "I think so too" he 
said, after a short pause ; " and I hope you will approve of what I 
mean to do. You see Lumley was brought up to regard himself as 
my heir — I owe something to him, beyond the poor estate which goes 
with, but never can adequately support my title. Family honours, 
hereditary rank, must be properly regarded. But that dear girl — I 
shall leave her the bulk of my fortune. Could we not unite the for- 
tune and the title ? It would secure the rank to her, it would incor- 
porate all my desires — all my duties." 

" But," said Lady Vargrave, with evident surprise, "if I understand 
you rightly, the disparity of years " 

" And what then, what then, Lady Vargrave ? Is there no disparity 
of years between us — a greater disparity than between Lumley and 
that tall girl ? Lumley is a mere youth, a youth still, five-and-thirty 
■ — he will be little more than forty when they marry ; I was between 
fifty and sixty when I married you, Lady Vargrave. I don't like boy 
and girl marriages : a man should be older than his wife. But you 
are so romantic, Lady Vargrave. Besides, Lumley is so gay and good- 
looking, and wears so well. He has been very nearly forming another 
attachment ; but that, I trust, is out of his head now. They must like 
each other. You will not gainsay me Lady Vargrave, and if anything 
oappens to me — life is uncertain." 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 237 

' Oh, do not speak so — my friend, my benefactor ! " 

" Wliy, indeed," resumed" his lordship, mildly, " thank Heaven, I 
am very well— feel younger than ever I did— but still life is uncertain ; 
and if you survive me, you will not throw obstacles in the way of my 
grand scheme ? " 

" I— no, no— of course you have the right in all things over her 
destiny; but so young — so soft-hearted, if she should love one of her 
own years — — " 

' : Love [—pooh ! love does not come into girls' heads unless it is put 
'.here. — We will bring her up to love Lumley. I have another reason 
—a cogent one — our secret !— to him it can be confided — it should not 
go out of our family. _ Even in my grave I could not rest if a slur were 
east on my respectability — my name." 

Lord Vargrave spoke solemnly and warmly; then muttering to 
himself, "Yes, it is for the best," he took up his hat and quitted the 
room. He joined his step-child on the lawn. He romped with her — he 
played with her— that stiff, stately man ! — he laughed louder than she 
did, and ran almost as fast. And when she was fatigued and breath- 
less, he made her sit down beside him, in a little summerhouse, and, 
fondly stroking down her disordered tresses, said, " You tire me out, 
child ; 1 am growing too old to play with you. Lumley must supply 
my place. You love Lumley ? " 

" Oh, dearly, he is so good humoured, so kind ; he has given me such 
a beautiful doll, with such eyes ! " 

" You shall be bis little wife — you would like to be his little wife ?" 

"Wife ! why, poor mamma is a wife, and she is not so happy as 
I am." 

" Your mamma has bad health, my dear," said Lord Vargrave, a 
little discomposed. " But it is a fine thing to be a wife and have a 
carriage of your own, and a fine house, and jewels, and plenty of 
money, and be your own mistress ; and Lumley will love you dearly." 

" Oh, yes, I should like all that." 

" And you will have a protector, child, when I am no more !" 

The tone, rather than the words, of her stepfather struck a damp 
into that childish heart. Evelyn lifted her eyes, gazed at him earnestly, 
and then, throwing her arms round him, burst into tears. 

Lord Vargrave wiped his own eyes and covered her with kisses. 

" Yes, you shall be Lumley's wife, his honoured wife, heiress to my 
rank as to my fortunes." 

" I will do all that papa wishes." 

" You will be Lady Vargrave then, and Lumley will be your hus- 
band," said the stepfather, impressively. " Think over what I have 
said. Now let us join mamma. But, as I live, here is Lumley him- 
self. However, it is notyet the time to sound him : — I hope tnat ho 
has no chance with that Lady Elorence." 



S'f- ERXEST MALTRAVEKS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

" Fair encounter 
Of two most rare affections." — Tempest. 

Meanwhile the Betrothed were on their road to Lonnort. The 
balmy and serene beauty of the day had induced them to perform the 
short journey on horseback. It is somewhere said, that "overs are 
never so handsome as in each other's company, and neither Florence 
nor Ernest ever looked so well as on horseback. There was something 
in the stateliness and the grace of both, something even in the aquiline 
outline of their features, and the haughty bend of the neck, that made 
a sort of likeness between these young persons, although there was no 
comparison as to their relative degrees of personal advantage : the 
beautv of Florence defied all comparison. And as they rode from 
Cleveland's porch, where the other guests yet lingering were assem- 
bled to give the farewell greeting, there was a general conviction of 
the happiness destined to the affianced ones, — a general impression 
that both in mind and person they were eminently suited to each 
other. Their position was that which is ever interesting, even in 
more ordinary people, and at that moment they were absolutely 
popular with all who gazed on them ; and when the good old Cleve- 
land turned away with tears in lus eyes and murmured "Bless 
them ! " there was not one of the party who would have hesitated to 
join the prayer. 

Florence felt a nameless dejection as she quitted a spot so conse- 
crated by grateful recollections. 

" When shall we be again so happy ?" said she, softly, as she turned 
back to gaze upon the landscape, wnich, gay with flowers and shrubs, 
and the bright English verdure, smiled behind them like a garden. 

" We will try and make my old hall, and its gloomy shades, remind 
us of these fairer scenes, my Florence." 

" Ah ! describe to me the character of your place. We shall hve 
there principally, shall we not ? I am sure I shall like it much better 
than Marsden Court, which is the name of that huge pile of arches 
and columns in Vanbrugh's heaviest taste, which will soon be yours." 

" I fear we shall never dispose of all your mighty retinue, grooms 
of the chamber, and Patagonian footmen, and Heaven knows who be- 
sides, in the holes and corners of Burleigh," said Ernest, smiling. 
And then he went on to describe the old place with something of a 
well-born country gentleman's not displeasing pride; and Florence 
listened, and they planned, and altered, and added, and improved, and 
laid out a map for the future. From that topic they_ turned to another, 
equally interesting to Florence. The work in which Maltravers had 
been engaged was completed, was in the hands of the printer, and 
Florence amused herself with conjectures as to the criticisms it would 



XKNEST MALTHAVEIIS. 239 

provoke. She was certain that all that had most pleased her would 
be caviare to the multitude. She never would believe that any one 
could understand Maltravers but herself. Thus time flew on till they 
passed that part of the road in which had occurred Ernest's adventure 
with Mrs. Templeton's daughter. Maltravers paused abruptly in the 
midst of his glowing periods, as the spot awakened its associations 
and reminiscences, and looked round anxiously and inquiringly. But 
the fair apparition was not again visible • and whatevt r impression the 
place produced, it gradually died away as they entered the suburbs of the 
great metropolis. Two other gentlemen and a young lady of thirty-three 
(I had almost forgotten them) were of the party, but they had the 
tact to linger a little behind during the greater part of the road, and. 
the young lady, who was a wit and a flirt, found gossip and sentiment 
for both the cavaliers. 

" Will you come to us this evening ?" asked Florence, timidly. 

" I fear I shall not be able. I have several matters to arrange be- 
fore I leave town for Burleigh, which 1 must do next week. Three 
months, dearest Florence, will scarcely suffice to make Burleigh put 
on its best looks to greet its new mistress ; and I have already ap- 
pointed the great modern magicians of draperies and or-molu to con- 
sult how we may make Aladdin's palace fit for the reception of the 
new princess. Lawyers, too ! — in short, I expect to be fully occupied. 
But to-morrow, at three, I shall be with you, and we can ride out, if 
the day be fine." 

" Surely," said Florence, " yonder is Signor Cesarini — how haggard 
and altered he appears ! " 

Maltravers, turning his eyes towards the spot to which Florence 
pointed, saw Cesarini emerging from a lane, with a porter behind 
him carrying some books and a trunk. The Italian, who was talking 
and gesticulating as to himself, did not perceive them. 

" Poor Castruccio ! he seems leaving his lodging," thought Mal- 
travers. " By this time I fear he will have spent the last sum I con- 
veyed to him — I must remember to find him out and replenish his 
stores. — Do not forget," said he aloud, " to see Cesarini, and urge him 
to accept the appointment we spoke of." 

" I will not forget it — I will see him to-morrow before we meet. 
Yet it is a painful task, Ernest." 

" I allow it. Alas ! Florence, you owe him some reparation. He 
undoubtedly once conceived himself entitled to form hopes, the vanity 
of which his ignorance of our English world and his foreign birth 
prevented him from suspecting." 

"Believe me, I did not give him the right to form such expec- 
tations." 

"But you did not sufficiently discourage them. Ah, Florence, 
never underrate the pangs of hope crushed, of love contemned." 

"Dreadful!" said Florence, almost shuddering. "It is strange, 
but my conscience never so smote me before. It is since I love, that 
1 feel, for the first time, how guilty a creature is " 

" A coquette V interrupted Maltravers. "Well, let us think of the 
past no more ; but if we can restore a gifted man, whose youth pro- 
mised much, to an honourable independence and a healthful mind, let 



2iO ERNEST WVT/TRAVKRS. 

us do so. Me, Cesarini never, can forgive ; he will tlunk I have 
robbed him of you. But we mei.— the woman we have once loved, 
even after she rejects us, ever has some power over us, and your 
eloquence, which has so often roused me, cannot fail to impress a 
nature vet more excitable." 

" Maltravers, on quitting Florence at her own door, went home, 
summoned his favourite servant, gave him Cesarini' s _ address at 
Chelsea, bade him find out where he was, if he had left his lodgings ; 
and leave at his present home, or (failing its discovery) at the " Tra- 
vellers," a cover, which he made his servant address, enclosing a 
bank-note of some amount. If the reader wonder why Maltravers 
thus constituted himself the unknown benefactor of the Italian, I 
must tell him that he does not understand Maltravers. Cesarini was 
not the only man of letters whose faults he pitied, whose wants he 
relieved. Though his name seldom shone in the pompous list of 
public subscriptions — though he disdained to affect the Maecenas and 
the patron, he felt the brotherhood of mankind, and a kind of grati- 
tude for those who aspired to raise or to delight their species. An 
author himself, he could appreciate the vast debt which the world 
owes to authors, and pays but by calumny in life and barren laurels 
after death. He whose profession is the Beautiful succeeds only 
through the Sympathies. Charity and Compassion are virtues taught 
with difficulty to ordinary men ; to true Genius they are but the in- 
stincts which direct it to the Destiny it is born to fulfil, — viz., the 
discovery and redemption of new tracts in our common nature. 
Genius — the Sublime Missionary — goes forth from the serene Intellect 
of the Author to live in the wants, the griefs, the infirmities of others, 
in order that it may learn their language ; and as its highest achieve- 
ment is Pathos, so its most absolute requisite is Pity ! 



CHAPTER Vn. 

" Don John. How canst thou cross this marriage? 
Bornchio. Not honestly, my lord ; but so covertly, that no dishonesty shall 
appear in me, my lord." — Much Ado about Nothing. 

Ferrers and Cesarini were sitting over their wine, and both had 
sunk into silence, for they had only one subject in common, when a 
note was brought to Lumley from Lady Florence.—" This is lucky 
enough ! " said he, as he read it. " Lady Florence wishes to see you, 
and encloses me a note for you, which she asks me to address and 
forward to you. There it is." 

Cesarini took the note with trembling hands : it was very short, 
and merely expressed a desire to see him the next day at two 
o'clock. 

" What can it be ?" he exclaimed ; " can she want to apologise, to 
explain?" 

f 'No, no, no ! Florence will not do that ; but, from certain words 



EKNEST MALTRAVEBS. 241 

she dropped in talking with me, I euess that she has some offer to 
your worldly advantage to propose to you. Ha ! by the way, a 
thought strikes me." 

Luniley eagerly rang the bell. " Is Lady Florence's servant waiting 
for an answer ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Very well — detain him." 

" Now, Cesarini, assurance is made doubly sure. Come into the 
next room. There, sit down at my desk, and write, as I shall dictate, 
to Maltraveis." 

"I!" 

" Yes, now do put yourself in my hands — write, write. When you 
have finished, I will explain." 

Cesarini obeyed, and the letter was as follows : — 

" Dear Maltkavers, 

" I have learned your approaching marriage with Lsdy Florence 
Lascelles.^ Permit me to congratulate you. For myself, I have over- 
come a vain and foolish passion ; and can contemplate your happiness 
without a sigh. 

"I have reviewed all my old prejudices against marriage, and 
believe it to be a state which nothing but the most perfect con- 
geniality of temper, pursuits, and minds, can render bearable. — ■ 
How rare is such congeniality ! in your case it may exist. The 
affections of that beautiful being are doubtless ardent — and they are 
yours ! 

_ " Write me a line by the bearer to assure me of your belief in my 
sincerity. 

" Yours, 

" C. Cesarini." 

"Copy out this letter, I want its ditto — quick. Now seal and 
direct the duplicate," continued Ferrers ; " that's right ; go into the 
hall, give it yourself to Lady Florence's servant, and beg him to take 
it to Seamore Place, wait for an answer, and bring it here ; by which 
time you will have a note ready for Lady Florence. Say I will 
mention this to her ladyship, — and give the man half a crown. There 
— begone." 

"Ido not understand a word of this," said Cesarini, when he re- 
turned; "will you explain?" 

"Certainly- the copy of the note you have despatched to Mal- 
travers I shall show to Lady Florence this evening, as a proof of yonr 
sobered and generous feelings ; observe, it is so written, that the old 
letter of your rival may seem an exact reply to it. To-morrow a 
reference to this note of yours will bring out our scheme more easily ; 
and if you follow my instructions, you will not seem to volunteer 
showing our handiwork, as we at first intended ; but rather to yield it 
to her eyes from a generous impulse, from an irresistible desire to 
save her from an unworthy husband and a wretched fate. Fortune 
has been dealing our cards for us, and has turned up the ace. Three 
to one now on the odd trick. Maltravers, too, is at home. I called at 

& 



242 ERNEST MALTHA VERS. 

his house on i«turning from my uncle's, and learned that he would not 
stir out all the evening." 

_ In due time came the answer from Ernest : it was short and hur- 
ried 5 but full of all the manly kindness of his nature ; it expressed 
admiration and delight at the tone of Cesarini's letter ; it revoked all 
former expressions derogatory to Lady Florence ; it owned the harsh- 
ness and error of his first impressions ; it used every delicate argu- 
ment that could soothe and reconcile Cesarini; and concluded by 
sentiments of friendship and desire of service, so cordial, so honest, so 
free from the affectation of patronage, that even Cesarini himself, half 
insane as he was with passion, was almost softened. Lutnley saw the 
ehange in his countenance — snatched the letter from his hand — read 
it — threw it into the fire — and saying, " We must guard against acci- 
dents," clapped the Italian affectionately on the shoulder, and added, 
" Now you can have no remorse ; for a more Jesuitical piece of insult- 
ing, hypocritical cant I never read. Where's your note to Lady Flo- 
rence ? Your compliments, you will be with her at two. There, now 
the rehearsal's over, the scenes arranged, and I'll dress, and open 
the play for you with a prologue." 



CHAPTER VHL 

" jEstuat ingens 
Imo in corde pudor, mixtoque insama lnctn, 
Et furiis agitatus amor, et conscia virtus."* — Virgil. 

The next day, punctual to his appointment, Cesarini repaired to 
his critical interview with Lady Florence. Her countenance, which, 
like that of most persons whose temper is not under their command, 
ever too faithfully expressed what was within, was unusually flushed. 
Lumley had dropped words and hints which had driven sleep from her 
pillow, and repose from her mind. 

She rose from her seat with nervous agitation as Cesarini entered, 
and made his grave salutation. After a short and embarrassed pause, 
she recovered, however, her self-possession, and with all a woman's 
delicate and dexterous tact, urged upon the Italian the expediency 
of accepting the offer of honourable independence now extended to 
him. 

"You have abilities," she said, in conclusion, "you have friends, 
you have youth ; take advantage of those gifts of nature and fortune, 
and fulfil such a career as," added Lady Florence, with a smile, 
"Dante did not_ consider incompatible with poetry." 

"I cannot object to any career," said Cesarini, with an effort, "thai 
may serve to remove me from a country that has no longer any charms 
for me. I thank you for your kindness ; I will obey you. May you be 

* Deep in her inmost heart is stirred the immense shame, and madness with 
commingled grief, and love agitated b/ rage, and coi»s«i i virtue. 



ERNEST MALTEAVErtS. 5*13 

tippy; and yet— no, ah ! no — happy you must be! Even he, sooner 
or later, must see you with my eyes." 

" I know," replied Florence, falteringly, " that you have wisely and 
generously mastered a past illusion. Mr. Ferrers allowed me to see 

the letter you wrote to Er , to Mr. Maltravers ; it was worthy of 

you : it touched me deeply ; but I trust you will outlive your prejudices 
against " 

" Stay," interrupted Cesarini ; " did Ferrers communicate to you 
the answer to that letter?" 

" No, indeed." 

"I am glad of it." 

"Why?" 

" Oh, no matter. Heaven bless you ; farewell." 

" No ; I implore you, do not go yet ; what was there in that letter 
that it could pain me to see ? Lumley hinted darkly, but would not 
speak out : be more frank." 

"I cannot: it would be treachery to Maltravers, cruelty to you; 
yet, would it be cruel ?" 

" No, it would not : it would be kindness and mercy ; show me the 
letter — you have it with you." 

" You could not bear it ; you would hate me for the pain it would 
give you. Let me depart." 

" Man, you wrong Maltravers. I see it now. You would darkly 
slander him whom you cannot openly defame. Go ; I was wrong to 
listen to you— go !" 

" Lady Florence, beware how you taunt me into undeceiving you. 
Here is the letter, it is his handwriting ; will you read it. I warn 
you not." 

" 1 will believe nothing but the evidence of my own eyes ; give it 
me." 

" Stay then ; on two conditions. First, that you promise me sacredly 
that you will not disclose to Maltravers, without my consent, that you 
have seen this letter. Think not I fear his anger. No ! but in the mor- 
tal encounter that must ensue, if you thus betray me, your character 
would be lowered in the world's eyes, and even I (my excuse unknown) 
might not appear to have acted with honour in obeying your desire, 
and warning you, while there is yet time, of bartering love for avarice. 
Promise me." 

" I do, I do most solemnly." 

" Secondly, assure me that you will not ask to keep the letter, but 
will immediately restore it to me." 

" I promise it. Now then." 
"Take the letter." 

Florence seized, and rapidly read the fatal and garbled document : 
her brain was dizzy, her eyes clouded, her ears rang as with the sound 
of water, she was sick and giddy with emotion ; but she read enough. 
This letter was written, then, in answer to Castruccio's of last night ; 
it avowed dislike of her character ; it denied the sincerity of her love ; 
it more than hinted the mercenary nature of his own feelings. Yes, 
even there, where she had garnered up her heart, she was not Florence, 
the lovelv and beloved woman ; but Florence, the wealthy and higli- 

*2 



24-4 EHNEST MALTRAVERS. 

born heiress The world which she had built upon the faith and heart 
of Maltravers, crumbled away at her feet. The letter dropped from 
her hands; her whole form "seemed to shrink and shrivel up; her 
teeth were set, and her cheek was as white as marble. 

"0 God!" cried Cesarini, stung with remorse. "Speak to ine, 
speak to me, Florence ! I did wrong ; forget that hateful letter ! I 
have been false — false ! " 

" All, false — say so again ! — no, no, I remember he told me — he, so 
wise, so deep a judge of human character, that he would be 
sponsor for your faith — that your honour and heart were incor- 
ruptible. It is true ; I thank you — you have saved me from a terrible 
fate." 

" O, Lady Florence, dear — too dear — yet, would that — alas ! she 
does not listen to me," muttered Castruccio, as Florence, pressing her 
hands to her temples, walked wildly to and fro the room ; at length 
she paused opposite to Cesarini, loooked him full in the face, returned 
him the letter without a word, and pointed to the door. 

" No, no, do not bid me leave you yet," said Cesarini, trembling with 
.'epentant emotion, yet half beside himself with jealous rage at her 
love for his rival. 

" My friend, go," said Florence, in a tone of voice singularly sub- 
dued r,nd soft. " Do not fear me ; I have more pride in me than even 
affection- but there are certain struggles in a woman's breast which 
she could never betray to any one— any one but a mother. God help 
me, I have none ! Go ; when next we meet, I shall be calm." 

She held out her hand as she spoke, the Italian dropped on his knee, 
kissed it convulsively, and, fearful of trusting himself further, vanished 
from the room. 

He had not been long gone bef jre Maltravers was seen riding 
through the street. As he threw himself from his horse, he looked up 
at the window, and kissed his hand at Lady Florence, who stood there, 
watching his arrival, with feelings indeed far different from those he 
anticipated. He entered the room lightly and gaily. 

Florence stirred not to welcome him. He approached and took her 
hand ; she withdrew it with a shudder. 

" Are you not well, Florence ?" 

" I am well, for I have recovered." 

" What do you mean ? why do you turn from me ? " 

Lady Florence fixed her eyes upon him, eyes that literally blazed ; 
her lip quivered with scorn. 

"Mr. .Maltravers, at length I know you. I understand the feelings 
with which you have sought a union between us. God ! why, why 
was I thus cursed with riches — why made a thing of barter and mer- 
chandise, and avarice, and low ambition ? Take my wealth, take it, 
Mr. Maltravers, since that is what you prize. Heaven knows I can 
cast it willingly away; but leave the wretch whom you long de- 
ceived, and who now, wretch though she be, renounces and despises 
you ! " 

"Lady Florence, do I hear aright? Who has accused me to 
vou?" 

"None, sir, none; I would have believed none. Let 't suffice that I 



JEST MALTKAVEKS. 246 

em convinced that our union can be happy to neither ; question me no 
further ; all intercourse between us is for ever over ! " 

" Pause," said Maltravers, with cold and grave solemnity ; " another 
word, and the gulf will become impassable. Pause." 

'' Do not," exclaimed the unhappy lady, stung by what she con- 
sidered the assurance of a hardened hypocrisy — " do not affect this 
haughty superiority ; it dupes me no longer. I was your slave while 
] loved you : the tie is broken. I am free, and I hate and scorn you ! 
Mercenary and sordid as you are, your baseness of spirit revives the 
differences of our rank. Henceforth, Mr. Maltravers, 1 am Lady 
Florence Lascelles, and by that title alone will you know me. Begone, 
sir!" 

As she spoke, with passion distorting every feature of her face, all 
her beauty vanished away from the eyes of the pioud Maltravers, as if 
by witchcraft : the angel seemed transformed into the fury ; and cold, 
bitter, and withering was the eye which he fixed upon that altered 
countenance. 

" Mark me, Lady Florence Lascelles," said he very calmly, "you 
have now said what you can never recall. Neither in man nor in 
woman did Ernest Maltravers ever forget or forgive a sentence which 
accused him of dishonour. I bid you farewell for ever ; and with my 
last words I condemn you to the darkest of all dooms — the remorse 
that comes too late !" 

Slowly he moved away ; and as the door closed upon that towering 
and haushty form, Florence already felt that his curse was working 
to its fulfilment. She rushed to the window — she caught one last 
glimpse of him as his horse bore him rapidly away. Ah ! when shall 
they meet again ? 



CHAPTER IX. 

" And now I live — O wherefore do I live? 
And with that pang I prayed to be no more." — Wordsworth. 

It was about nine o'clock that evening, and Maltravers was alone 
in his room His carriage was at the door — his servants were arrang- 
ing the luggage — he was going that night to Burleigh. London- 
society — the world — were grown hateful to him. His galled and 
indignant spirit demanded solitude. At this time, Lumley Ferrers 
abruptly entered. 

" iou will pardon my intrusion," said the latter, with his usua 1 
frankness—" but " 

" But what sir — I am engaged." 

" I shall be very brief. Maltravers, you are my old friend. I 
retain regard and affection for you, though our different habits have 
of late estranged us. I come to you from my cousin — from Florence- 
—there has been some misunderstanding between you. I called on 
her to-day after you left the house. Her grief affected me. I have 
only just quitted her. She has been told by some gossip or other, 



210 ERNEST MAi/TKAVEKS. 

some story or other — women are credulous, foolish creatures ; — unde- 
ceive her, and, I dare say, ail may be settled." 

" Ferrers, if a man had spoken to me as Lady Florence did, his blood 
or mine must have flowed. And do you think that words that might 
have plunged me into the guilt of homicide if uttered by a man, 
I could ever pardon in one whom I had dreamed of lor a wife ? 
Never ! " 

" Pooh, pooh — women's words are wind. Don't throw away so 
splendid a match for such a trifle." 

" Do you too, sir, mean to impute mercenary motives to me ? " 

" Heaven forbid ! You know I am no coward, but I really don't 
want to fight you. Come, be reasonable." 

"I dare say you mean well, but the breach is final — all recurrence 
to it is painful and superfluous. I must wish you good evening." 

" You have positively decided ? " 
■ "I have." 

" Even if Lady Florence made the amende honorable ! " 

" Nothing on the part of Lady Florence could alter my resolution. 
The woman whom an honourable man — an English gentleman — 
makes the partner of his life, ought never to listen to a syllable against 
bis fair name : his honour is hers, and if her lips, that should breathe 
comfort in calumny, only serve to retail the lie — she may be beautiful, 
gifted, wealthy, and high-bom, but he takes a curse to his arms. 
That curse I have escaped." 

" And this I am to say to my cousin ? " 

" As you will. And now stay, Lumley Ferrers, and hear me. I 
neither accuse nor suspect you, I desire not to pierce your heart, and 
in this case I cannot fathom your motives ; but if it should so have 
happened that you have, in any way, ministered to Lady Florence 
Lascelles' injurious opinions of my faith and honour, you will have 
much to answer for, and sooner or later there will come a day 
of reckoning between you and me." 

" Mr. Maltravers, there can be no quarrel between us, with my 
cousin's fair name at stake, or else we should not now part without 
preparations for a more hostile meeting. I can bear your language. 
/, too, though no pliilosopher, can forgive. Come, man, you are 
heated — it is very natural ; — let us part friends — your hand." 

" If you can take my hand, Lumley, you are innocent, and I ha\e 
■w ronged you." 

Lumley smiled, and cordially pressed the hand of his old friend. 

As he descended the stairs, Maltravers followed, and just as Lumley 
turned into Curzon Street, the carriage whirled rapidly past him, and 
by the lamps he saw the pale and stern face of Maltravers. 

It was a slow, drizzhng rain, — one of those unwholesome nights 
frequent in London towards the end of autumn. Ferrers, however, 
insensible to the weather, walked slowly and thoughtfully towards his 
cousin's bouse. He was playing for a mighty stake, ana hitherto the 
east was in his favour, yet he was uneasy and perturbed. His con- 
science was tolerably proof to all compunction, as much from the 
levit i' as from the strength of his nature ; and (Maltravers removed), 
he trvjstfl is his knowledge of the human heart, and the smooth 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 847 

gpeciousness of his manner, to win, at last, in the nand of Lady 
Florence, the object of his ambition. It was not on her affection, it 
ras on her pique, her resentment, that he relied. " When a woman 
fancies herself slighted by the man she loves, the first person who 
proposes must be a clumsy wooer indeed, if he does not carry her 
away." So reasoned Ferrers, but yet he was ruffled and disquieted ; 
f he truth must be spoken, — able, bold, sanguine, and scornful as he 
was, his spirit quailed before that of Maltravers ; he feared the lion of 
that nature when fairly aroused :_ his own character had in it some- 
thing of a woman's — an unprincipled, gifted, aspiring, and subtle 
woman's, and in Maltravers — stern, simple, and masculine — he recog- 
nised the superior dignity of the " lords of the creation ;" he was 
overawed by the anticipation of a wrath and revenge which he felt 
he merited, and which ne feared might be deadly. 

While gradually, however, his spirit recovered its usual elasticity, 
he came in the vicinity of Lord Saxinghain's house, and suddenly, by 
a corner of the street, his arm was seized: to his inexpressible 
astonishment he recognised in the muffled figure that accosted him, 
the form of Florence Lascelles. 

" Good heavens ! " he cried, " is it possible ? — You, alone in the 
streets, at this hour, in such a night, too ! How very wrong — how 
very imprudent ! " 

" Do not talk to me — I am almost mad as it is : I could not rest — I 
could not brave quiet, solitude, — still less, the face of my father — I 
could not ! — but quick, what says he ? — what excuse has he ? Tell 
me everything — I will cling to a straw." 

" And is this the proud Florence Lascelles ? " 

" No, — it is the humbled Florence Lascelles. I have done with 
pride — speak to me!" 

"Ah, what a treasure is such a heart. How can he throw it 
away ! " 

"Does he deny?" 

" He denies nothing— lie expresses himself rejoiced to have escaped 
— such was his expression — a marriage in which his heart never was 
engaged. He is unworthy of you — forget him." 

Florence shivered, and as Ferrers drew her arm in his own, her 
ungloved hand touched his, and the touch was like that of ice. 

" What will the servants think ? — what excuse can we make ? " 
said Ferrers, when they stood beneath the porch. 

Florence did not reply ; but as the door opened, she said softly — 

" I am ill — ill," ana clung to Ferrers with that unnerved and heavy 
weight which betokens faintness. 

The light glared on her — the faces of the lacqueys betokened their 
undisguised astonishment. With a violent effort, Florence recovered 
herself, for she had not yet done with pride, swept through the hall 
with her usual stately step, slowly ascended the broad staircase, 
and gained the solitude of her own room, to fall senseless on tb* 
flour. 



BOOK IX. 



CHAPTER T. 

" There the action lies 
In its true nature * * * * 

What then ? What rests » 
Try what repentance can ! " — Hamlet. 

" I doubt he will be dead or ere I come." — King John. 

It was a fine afternoon in December, when Lumley Ferrers turned 
from Lord Saxingham's door. The knockers were muffled — the win- 
dows on the third story were partially closed. There was sickness in 
that house. 

Lumley' s face was unusually grave ; it was even sad. " So young — 
so beautiful," he muttered. " If ever I loved woman, I do believe I 
ioved her :— that love must be my excuse. . I repent of what I 
have done — but I could not foresee that a mere lover's stratagem was 
to end in such effects— the metaphysician was very right when he 
said, ' We only sympathise with feelings we know ourselves.' A little 
disappointment in love could not have hurt me much — it is d — d odd 
it should hurt her so. I am altogether out of luck : old Templeton — 
I beg his pardon, Lord Vargrave (by the bye he gets heartier every 
day — what a constitution he has !) seems cross with me. He did not 
like the idea that I should marry Lady Florence— and when I thought 
that vision might have been realized, hinted that I was disappointing 
some expectations he had formed ; I can't make out what he means. 
Then, too, the government have offered that place to Maltravers 
instead of to me. In fact, my star is not in the ascendant. Poor 
Florence, though, — I would really give a great deal to know her 
restored to health ! — I have done a villanous thing, but I thought it 
only a clever one. However, regret is a fool's passion. By Jupiter ! — 
talking of fools, here comes Cesarini." 

Wan, haggard, almost spectral, his hat over his brows, his dress 
neglected, his air reckless and fierce, Cesarini crossed the way, and 
thus accosted Lumley : — 

" We have murdered her, Ferrers ; and her ghost will haunt us to 
our dying day!" 

" Talk prose ; you know I am no poet. What do you mean ?" 

" She is worse to-day," groaned Cesarini, in a hollow voice. " I 
wander like a lost spirit round the house ; I question ail who come 
from it. Tell me — oh, tell me, is there hope P " 



fcttNEST MALTKAVEKS. 249 

" I do, indeed, trust so," replied Ferrers, fervently. " The illness 
lias only of late assumed an alarming appearance. At first it was 
merely a severe cold, caught by imprudent exposure one rainy night. 
Now they fear it has settled on the lungs ; but if we could get her 
abroad, all might be well." 

" You think so, honestly?" 

"1 do. Courage, my friend; do not reproach yourself; r has 
nothing to do with us. She was taken ill oi a cold, not of a letter, 
man!" 

" No, no ; I judge her heart by my own. Oh, that I could recall 
the past ! Look at me ; I am the wreck of what I was ; day and 
night the recollection of my falsehood haunts me with remorse." 

" Pshaw ! — we will go to Italy together, and in your beautiful land, 
love wiil replace love." 

" I am half resolved, Ferrers." 

"Ha!-todowhat?" , 

" To write — to reveal all to her." 

The hardy complexion of Ferrers grew livid ; his brow became daik 
with a terrible expression. 

" Do so, and fall the next day by my hand ; my aim, in slighter 
quarrel, never erred." 

" Do you dare to threaten me?" 

" Do you dare to betray me ? Betray one who, if he sinned, sinned 
on your account — in your cause ; who would have secured to vou the 
loveliest bride, and the most princely dower, in England ; and whose 
only offence against you is that he cannot command life and 
health V\ 

" Forgive me," said the Italian, with great emotion, — " forgive me, 
and do not misunderstand ; I would not have betrayed you, — there is 
honour among villains. I would have confessed only my own crime ; 
I would never have revealed yours — why should I? it is unne- 
cessary." 

" Are you in earnest ? — are you sincere ?" 

"By my soul!" 

" Then, indeed, you are worthy of my friendship. You will assume 
the whole forgery — an ugly word, but it avoids circumlocution — to be 
your own?" 

"I will." 

Ferrers paused a moment, and then stopped suddenly short. 

" You will swear this ! " 

"By all that is holy." 

" Then, mark me, Cesarini ; if to-morrow Lady Florence be worse, 
I will throw no obstacle in the way of your confession, should you 
resolve to make it : I will even use that influence which you leave me, 
to palliate your offence, to win your pardon. And yet to resign your 
hopes — to surrender one so loved to the arms of one so hated- 
it is magnanimous — it is noble — it is above my standard ! Do as you 
will." 

Cesarini was about to reply, when a servant on horseback abruptly 
turned the corner, almost at full speed. He pulled in — his eye feu 
upon Lumley — he dismounted. 



250 ERXEST MAT.TT! AVERS. 

" Oh, Mr. Ferrers," said the man, breathlessly, " I have been to 
your house; they told me I might find you at Lord Saxingham's — I 
was just going there " 

" Well, well, what is the matter ! " 

" My poor master, sir — my lord, I mean " 

"Wbatof him?" 

" Had a fit, sir — the doctors are with him — my mistress — for my 
lord can't speak — sent me express for you." 

" Lend me your horse — there, just lengthen the stirrups." 

While the groom was engaged at the saddle, Ferrers turned to 
Cesarini. "Do notliing rasldy," said he; "I would say, if I might, 
nothing at all, without consulting me ; but mind, I rely, at ail events, 
on your promise — your oath." 

" You may," said Cesarini, gloomily. 

"Farewell, then," said Lumley, as he mounted; and in a few 
moments he was out of sight. 



CHAPTER LL. 

" O world, thou wast the forest to this hart, 
****** 

Dost thou here lie ? " — Julius C&sar. 

As Lumley leapt from his horse at bis uncle's door, the disorder and 
bustle of those demesnes, in which the severe eye of the master 
usually preserved a repose and silence as complete as if the affairs of life 
were carried on by clockwork, struck upon him sensibly. Upon the trim 
lawn, the old women employed in cleaning and weeding the walks were 
all assembled in a cluster, shaking their heads ominously in concert, 
and carrying on their comments in a confused whisper. In the hall, 
the housemaid (and it was the first housemaid whom Lumley had ever 
seen in that house, so invisibly were the wheels of the domestic 
machine carried on) was leaning on her broom, "swallowing with open 
mouth a footman's news." It was as if, with the first slackening of 
the rigid rein, human nature broke loose from the conventual stillness 
in which it had ever paced its peaceful path in that formal mansion. 

"How is he?" 

"My lord is better, sir; he has spoken, I believe." 

At this moment a young face, swollen and red with weeping, looked 
down from the stairs ; and presently Evelyn rushed breathlessly into 
the hall. 

" Oh, come up— come up, cousin Lumley ; he cannot, cannot die in 
your presence ; you always seem so full of life ! He cannot die ; you 
do not think he will die f Oh, take me with you, they won't let me 
go to him ! " 

" Hush, my dear little girl, nush : follow me lightly — that is right." 

Lumley reached the door, tapped gently — entered ; and the child 
also stole in unobserved or at least unprevented. Lumley drew aside 



ER>TKST MALTHA VERS. 2!>1 

the curtains ; the new lord was lying on his bed, with his head propped 
by pillows, his eyes wide open, with a glassy but not insensible stare, 
ana his countenance fearfully changed. Lady Vargrave was kneeling 
on the other side of the bed, one hand clasped in her husband s, the 
other bathing his temples, and her tears falling, without sob or sound, 
fast and copiously down her pale fair cheeks. 

Two doctors were conferring in the recess of the window; an 
apothecary was mixing drugs at a table ; and two of the oldest female 
servants of the house were standing near the physicians, trying to 
overhear what was said. 

" My dear, dear uncle, how are you?" asked Lumley. 

" Ah, you are come then," said the dying man, in a feeble vet distinct 
voice ; " that is well — I have much to say to you." 

" But not now— not now — you are not strong enough," said the 
wife, imploringly. 

The doctors moved to the bedside. Lord Vargrave waved his hand, 
and raised his head. 

" Gentlemen," said he, " I feel as if death were hastening upon me ; 
I have much need, while my senses remain, to confer with my nephew. 
Is the present a fitting time ? — if I delay, are you sure that I shall 
have another?" 

The doctors looked at each other. 

" My lord," said one ; " it may perhaps settle and relieve your mind 
to converse with your nephew ; afterwards you may more easily com- 
pose yourself to sleep." 

" Take this cordial, then," said the other doctor. 

The sick man obeyed. One of the physicians approached Lumley, 
and beckoned him aside. 

" Shall we send for his lordship's lawyer?" whispered the leech. 

"I am his heir-at-law," thought Lumley. "Why, no, my dear sir 
— no, I think not, unless he expresses a desire to see him ; doubtles 
my poor uncle has already settled his worldly affairs. What is hi 
state?" 

The doctor shook his head. " I will speak to you, sir, after you 
have left his lordslup." 

" What is the matter there ?" cried the patient, sharply and queru- 
lously. " Clear the room — 1 would be alone with my nephew." 

The doctors disappeared; the old women reluctantly followed; 
when, suddenly, the little Evelyn sprang forward and threw herself on 
the. breast of the dying man, sobbing as if her heart would break. 

" My poor child ! — my sweet child ! — my own, own darling !" gasped 
out Lord Vargave, folding his weak arms round her ; " bless you — 
bless you ! and God will bless you. My wife," he added, with a voice 
far more tender than Lumley had ever before heard him address to 
Lady Vargrave, " if these be the last words I utter to you, let them 
express all the gratitude I feel for you, for duties never more piously 
discharged : you did not love me, it is true ; and in health and pride 
that knowledge often made me unjust to you. I have been severe — 
you have tad much to bear — forgive me." 

" Oh ! do not talk thus ; you have been nobler, kinder than my 
deserts. How much I owe yovi ! — how little 1 have done in return ! 



-652 F.TINEST MALTHA VEBS. 

" 1 cannot bear this ; leave me, my dear, leave me. I may live yet 
— I hope I may — I do not want to die. The cup may pass from me. 
Go— go— and you, my child." 

" Ah, let me stay." 

Lord Vargrave kissed the little creature, as she clung to his neck, 
•with passionate affection, and then, placing her in her mother's arms, 
fell back exhausted on his pillow. Lumley, with handkerchief to his 
eyes,_ opened the door to Lady Vargrave, who sobbed bitterly, and 
carefully closing it, resumed his station by his uncle. 

When Lumley Ferrers left the room ; his countenance was gloomy 
and excited rather than sad. He hurried to the room which he usually 
occupied, and remained there for some hours while his uncle slept — a 
long and sound sleep. But the mother and the step-child (now re- 
stored to the sick-room) did not desert their watch. 

It wanted about an hour to midnight when the senior physician 
sought the nephew. 

" Your uncle asks for you, Mr. Ferrers ; and I think it right to say 
that his last moments approach. We have done all that can De done." 

" Is he fully aware of his danger ?" 
_ " He is ; and has spent the last two hours in prayer— it is a Chris 
tian's death-bed, sir." 

" Humph !" said Ferrers, as he followed the physician. 

The room was darkened— a single lamp, carefully shaded, burned 
on a table, on which lay the Book of Life in Death ; and with awe 
and grief on their faces, the mother and the child were kneeling beside 
the bed. 

" Come here, Lumley," faltered forth the fast-dying man. " There 
are none here, but you three — nearest and dearest to me ? — that is 
well. Lumley, then, you know all — my wife, he knows all. My 
child, give your hand to your cousin — so you are now plighted. When 
you grow up, Evelyn, you will know that it is my last wish and prayer 
that you should be the wife of Lumley Ferrers. In giving you this 
angel, Lumley, I atone to yoa for all seeming injustice. And to you, 
my child, I secure the rank and honours to which I have painfully 
climbed, and which I am forbidden to enjoy. Be kind to her, Lumley 
— you have a good and frank heart — let it be her shelter — she has 
never known a harsh word. God bless you all, and God forgive me — 
pray for me. Lumley, to-morrow you will be Lord Vargrave, and by- 
and-by" (here a ghastly, but exultant smile flitted over the speaker's 
countenance) " you will be my Lady — Lady Vargrave. Lady — so — 
so — Lady Var " 

The words died on his trembling lips ; he turned round, and though 
he continued to breathe for more than an hour. Lord Vargrave never 
uttered another syllable. 



KU5TE.ST iLAlVTRAVERS. 253 



CHAPTER in. 

" Hopes and fears 
Start up alarmed, and o'er life's narrow verge 
Look down — on what? — a fathomless abyss." — Yovno. 

" Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adieu ! " 

Much Ado about Nothing. 

The wound which Maltravers had received was peculiarly severe 
and rankling. It is true that he had never been what is called 
violently in love with Florence Lascelles ; but from the moment iu 
which he had been charmed and surprised into the character of a 
declared suitor, it was consonant with his scrupulous and loyal nature 
to view only the bright side of Florence's gifts and qualities, and to 
seek to enamour his grateful fancy with her beauty, her genius, and 
her tenderness for himself. He _ had thus forced and formed his 
thoughts and hopes to centre all in one object ; and Florence and the 
Future had grown words which conveyed the same meaning to his 
mind. Perhaps, he felt more bitterly her sudden and stunning accu- 
sations, couched as they were in language so unqualified, because 
they fell upon his pride rather than his affection, and were not 
softened away by the thousand excuses and remembrances which a 
passionate love would have invented and recalled. It was a deep, 
concentrated sense of injury and insult, that hardened and soured his 
whole nature — wounded vanity, wounded pride, and wounded honour. 
And the blow, too, came upon him at a time when he was most dissatis- 
fied with all other prospects. He was disgusted with the littleness of 
the agents and springs of political life — he had formed a weary contempt 
of the barrenness of literary reputation. At thirty years of age he had 
necessarily outlived the sangume elasticity of early youth, and he had 
already broken up many of those later toys in business and ambition 
which afford the rattle and the hobby-horse to our maturer manhood. 
Always asking for something too refined and too exalted for human 
life, every new proof of unworthiness in men and things saddened or 
revolted a mind still too fastidious for that quiet contentment with 
the world as it is, which we must all learn before we can make our 
philosophy practical and our genius as fertileof the harvest, as it may 
be prodigal of the blossom. Haughty, solitary, and unsocial, the 
ordinary resources of mortified and disappointed men were not for 
Ernest Maltravers. Rigidly secluded in his country retirement, he 
consumed the days in moody wanderings ; and in the evenings he 
turned to books with a spirit disdainful and fatigued. So much had 
he already learned, that books taught him little that he did not 
already know. And the biographies of Authors, those ghost-like 
beings who seem to have had no life but in the shadow of their own 
haunting and imperishable thoughts, dimmed the inspiration he might 
hare caught from their pages. Those Slaves of the Lamp, those 



254 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

Silkworms of the Closet, how little had they enjoyed, how little had 
they lived ! Condemned to a mysterious fate by the wholesale des- 
tinies of the world, they seemed bom but to toil and to spin thoughts 
for the common crowd — and, their task performed in drudgery and in 
darkness, to die when no further service could be wrung from tbeir 
exhaustion. Names had they been in life, and as names they lived 
for ever, in life as in death, airy and unsubstantial phantoms. It 
pleased Maltravers at this time to turn a curious eye towards the 
obscure and half-extinct philosophies of the ancient world. He com- 
pared the Stoics with the Epicureans — those Epicureans who had 
given their own version to the simple and abstemious utilita- 
rianism of their master. He asked which was the wiser, to sharpen 
pain or to deaden pleasure — to bear all or to enjoy all — and, by a 
natural reaction which often happens to us in life, this man, hitherto 
so earnest, active-spirited, and resolved on great things, began to 
yearn for the drowsy pleasures of indolence. The Garden grew more 
tempting than the Porch. He seriously revolved the old alternative 
of the Grecian demi-god — might it not be wiser to abandon the grave 
pursuits to which he had been addicted, to dethrone the august but 
severe Ideal in his heart — to cultivate the light loves and voluptuous 
trifles of the herd — and to plant the hrief space of youth yet left to 
him with the myrtle and the rose ? As water flows over water, so 
new schemes rolled upon new — sweeping away every momentary 
impression, and leaving the surface facile equally to receive and to 
forget. Such is a common state with men of imagination in those 
crises of life, when some great revolution of designs and hopes un- 
settles elements too susceptible of every changing wind. And thus 
the weak are destroyed, while the strong relapse, after terrible but 
unknown convulsions, into that solemn harmony and order from which 
Destiny and God draw their uses to mankind. 

It was from tliis irresolute contest between antagonist principles 
that Maltravers was aroused by the following letter from Elorence 
Lascelles : — 

" For three days and three sleepless nights I have debated with 
myself whether or not_ I ought to address you. Oh, Ernest, were 1 
what I was, in health, in pride, I might fear that, generous as you are, 
you would misconstrue my appeal ; but that is now impossible. Our 
union never can take place, and my hopes hound themselves to one 
sweet and melancholy tope, that you will remove from my last hours the 
cold and dark shadow of your resentment. We have both been cruelly 
deceived and betrayed. Three days ago I discovered the perfidy that 
has been practised against us. And then, ah ! then, with all the 
■weak human anguish of discovering it too late {your curse is fulfilled, 
Ernest !), I had at least one moment of proud, of exquisite rapture. 
Ernest Maltravers, the hero of my dreams, stood pure and lofty 
as of old — a thing it was not unworthy to love, to mourn, to die for. 
A letter in your handwriting had been shown me, garbled and altered, 
as it seems — but I detected not the imposture — it was yourself, 
yourself alone, brought in false and horrible witness against your 
self! And could you think that any other evidence, the words, 
the oaths of others, would have convicted you in my eves P There 



ETCNEST MALTHA VEES. 255 

you wronged me. But I deserved it — I had Dound myself to secrecy 
— the seal is taken from my lips in order to be set upon my tomb , 
Ernest, beloved Ernest— beloved till the last breath is extinct— till 
the last throb of this heart is stilled !— write me one word of comfort 
and of pardon. You will believe what I have imperfectly written, for 
you ever trusted my faith, if you have blamed my faults. I am now 
comparatively happy — a word from you will make me blest. And Fate 
has, perhaps, been more merciful to both, than in our short-sighted 
and querulous human vision, we might, perhaps, believe: for now that 
the frame is brought low — and in the solitude of my chamber I can 
duly and humbly commune with mine own heart, I see the aspect of 
those faults winch I once mistook for virtues — and feel, that had we 
been united, I, loving you ever, might not have constituted your hap- 
piness, and so have known the misery of losing your affection. May 
He who formed you for glorious and yet all-unaccomplished purposes, 
strengthen you, when these eyes can no longer sparkle at your 
triumphs, nor weep at your lightest sorrow. You will go on in your 
broad and luminous career : — A few years, and my remembrance will 
have left but the vestige of a dream behind. — But, but — I can write 
no more. God bless you ! " 



CHAPTER IV. 

" Oh, stop this headlong current of your goodness; 
It comes too feist upon a feeble soul." 

Dryden : Sebastian and Doras. 

The smooth physician had paid his evening visit ; Lord Saxingham 
had gone to a* cabinet dinner, for Life must ever walk side by side 
with Death : and Lady Florence Lascelles was alone. It was a room 
adjoining her sleeping-apartment — a room in which, in the palmy days 
of the brilliant and wayward heiress, she had loved to display her 
fanciful and peculiar taste. There had she been accustomed to muse, 
to write, to study — there had she first been dazzled by the novel glow 
of Ernest's undiurnal and stately thoughts — there had she first con- 
ceived the romance of girlhood, which had led her to confer with him, 
unknown — there had she first confessed to herself that fancy had be- 
gotten love — there had she gone through love's short and exhausting 
progress of lone emotion ; — the doubt, the hope, the ecstasy ; the 
reverse, the terror • the inanimate despondency, the agonised despair ! 
And there now, sadly and patiently, she awaited the gradual march of 
inevitable decay. And books and pictures, and musical instruments, and 
marble busts, half shadowed by classic draperies— and all the delicate 
elegancies of womanly refinement — still invested the chamber with a 
grace as cheerful as if youtli and beauty were to be the occupants for 
ever — and the dark and noisome vault were not the only lasting resi- 
dence for the things of clay ! 

Florence Lascelles was dying; but not indeed whoDjr of that 



256 ERNEST MA.LTKAVKRS. 

common, if mystic malady, a broken heart. Her health, always 
delicate, because always preyed upon by a nervous, irritable, and 
feverish spirit, had been gradually and invisibly undermined, even 
before Ernest confessed his love._ In the singular lustre of those 
large-pupilled eyes — in the luxuriant transparency of that glorious 
bloom, — the experienced might long since have traced the seeds 
which cradled death. In the night, when her restless and maddened 
heart so imprudently drove her forth to forestall the communication of 
Luroley (.whom shs had sent to Maltravers. she scarce knew for what 
object, or with what hope), in that night she was already in a high 
state of fever. _ The rain and the chill struck the growing disease 
within — her excitement gave it food and fire — delirium succeeded; 
and in that most fearful and fatal of all medical errors, which robs 
the frame, when it most needs strength, of the very principle of life, 
they had bled her into a temporary calm, and into permanent and 
ncurable weakness. Consumption seized its victim. The physicians 
who attended her were the most renowned in London, and Lord 
Saxingham was firmly persuaded that there was no danger. It was not 
in his nature to think that death would take so great a liberty with 
Lady Florence Lascelles, when there were so many poor people in the 
world whom there would be no impropriety in removing from it. But 
Florence knew her danger, and her high spirit did not quail before it. 
Yet, when Cesariai, stung beyond endurance by the horrors of his 
remorse, wrote and confessed all his own share of the fatal treason, 
though, faithful to his promise, he concealed that of his accomplice, 
■ —then, ah then, she did indeed repine at her doom, and long to look 
once more with the eyes of love and joy upon the face of the beautiful 
world. But the illness of the body usually brings out a latent power 
and philosophy of the soul, which health never knows ; and God has 
mercifully ordained it as the customary lot of nature, that in pro- 
portion as we decline into the grave, the sloping path is made 
smooth and easy to our feet ; and every day, as the films of clay 
are removed from our eyes, Death loses the false aspect of the 
spectre, and we fall at last into its arms as a wearied child upon the 
bosom of its mother. 

It was with a heavy heart that Lady 1'lorence listened to the mono- 
tonous clicking of the clock that announced the departure of moments 
few, yet not precious, still spared to her. Her face buried in her 
hands, she bent over the small table beside her sofa, and indulged her 
melancholy thoughts. Bowed was the haughty crest, unnerved the 
elastic shape that had once seemed born for majesty and command- 
no friends were near, for Florence had never made friends. Solitary 
had been her youth, and solitary were her dying hours. 

As she thus sat and mused, a sound of carriage wheels in the 
street below slightly shook the room — it ceased — the carriage stopped 
at the door. Florence looked up. " No, no, it cannot be," she mu* 
tered ; yet, while she spoke, a faint flush passed over her sunken and 
faded cheek, and the Dosom heaved beneath the robe, " a world too 
wide for its shrunk" proportions. There was a silence, which to her 
seemed interminable, and she turned away with a deep sigh, and a 
chill sinking of the heart 



ERNEST MA lYTRAVERS. 257 

At tins time her woman entered with a meaning and flurried loot. 

" I beg your pardon, my lady — but— — " 

"But what?" 

" Mr. Maltravers has called, and asked for your Jadyship— so, my 
lady, Mr. Burton sent for me, and I said, my lady is too unwell to 
s-ce any one; but Mr. Maltravers would not be denied, and he is 
waiting in my lord's library, and insisted on my coming up and 
'nouncing him, my lady." 

Now Mrs. Shinfield's words were not euphonistic, nor her voice 
mellifluous ; but never had eloquence seemed to Florence so effective. 
Youth, love, beauty, all rushed back upon her at once, brightening her 
eyes, her cheek, and filling up ruin with sudden and deceitful light. 
' '' Well," she said, after a pause, "let Mr. Maltravers come up." 

'■ Come up, my lady ? Bless me ! — let me just 'range your hair — 
your ladyship is really in such dish-a-bill." 

" Best as it is, Sliinfield— he will excuse all — Go." 

Mrs. S liinfi eld shrugged her shoulders, and departed. A few 
moments more — a step on the stairs, the creaking of the door, — and 
Maltravers and Florence were again alone. He stood motionless ou 
the threshold. She had involuntarily risen, and so they stood oppo- 
site to each other, and the lamp fell full upon her face. Oh, heaven, 
when did that sight cease to haunt the heart of Maltravers ! When 
shall that altered aspect not pass as a ghost before his eyes ! — there 
it is, faithful and reproachful, alike in solitude and in crowds — it is 
seen in the glare of noon — it passes dim and wan at night, beneath the 
stars and the earth — it looked into his heart, and left its likeness 
there for ever and for ever ! Those cheeks, once so beautifully 
rounded, now sunken into lines and hollows — the livid darkness 
beneath the eyes— the whitened lip — the sharp, anxious, worn ex- 
pression, which had replaced that glorious and beaming regard from 
which all the life of genius, all the sweet pride of womanhood had 
glowed forth, and in which not only the intelligence, but the eternity 
of the soul, seemed visibly wrought ! 

There he stood, aghast and appalled. At length a low groan broke 
from his lips — he rushed forward, sank on his knees beside her ? and 
clasping both her hands, sobbed aloud as he covered them with kisses. 
All the iron of his strong nature was broken down, and his emotions, 
long silenced, and now uncontrollable and resistless, were something 
terrible to behold ! 

" Do not— do not weep so," murmured Lady Florence, frightened 
by his vehemence ; " I &m sadly changed, but the fault is mine — 
Ernest, it is mine ; best, kindest, gentlest, how could 1 have been so 
mad ! — and you forgive me ? I am yours again— a little while yours. 
Ah, do not grieve wnile I am so blessed ! " 

As she spoke, her tears — tears from a source how different from 
that whence broke the scorching and intolerable agony of his own ! 
fell soft upon his bended head, and the hands that still convulsively 
strained hers. Maltravers looked wildly up into her countenance, 
and shuddered as he saw her attempt to smile. He rose abruptly, 
threw himself into a chair, and covered his face. He. was seeking by 
a violent effort to master himself, and it was only by the heaving of 

8 



258 ERNEST MALTRAVEKS. 

his chest, and now and then a gasp as for breath, that he betrayed the 
stormy struggle within. 

Florence gazed at him a moment in bitter, in almost selfish peni- 
tence. "And this was the man who seemed to me so callous to the 
softer sympathies — this was the heart I trampled upon— this the 
nature I distrusted ! " 

She came near him, trembling and with feeble steps — she laid her 
hand upon his shoulder, and the fondness of love came over her, and 
she wound her arms around him. 

" It is our fate — it is my fate," said Maltravers at last, awaking as 
from a hideous dream, and in a hollow but calm voice — " we are the 
tilings of destiny, and the wheel has crushed us. It is an awful state 
of being this human life ! — What is wisdom — virtue — faith to men — 
piety to Heaven — all the nurture we bestow on ourselves — all our desire 
to win a loftier sphere, when we are thus the tools of the merest 
chance — the victims of the pettiest villany ; and our very existence — 
our very senses almost, at the mercy of every traitor and every fool ? " 

There was something in Ernest's voice, as well as in his reflections, 
which appeared so unnaturally calm and deep that it startled Florence 
with a fear more acute than his previous violence had done. _ He rose, 
and muttering to himself, walked to and fro, as if insensible of her 
presence — in fact he was so. At length he stopped short, and, 
fixing his eyes upon Lady Florence, said, in a whispered and thrilling 
tone — 

" Now, then, the name of our undoer ? " 

" No, Ernest, no — never, unless you promise me to forego the pur- 
pose which I read in your eyes. He has confessed — he is penitent — I 
have forgiven him — you will do so too ! " 

" His name ! " repeated Maltravers, and his face, before very 
flushed, was unnaturally pale. 

" Forgive him — promise me." 

" His name ; I say, — his name ? " 

" Is this kind ? — you terrify me— you will kill me ! " faltered out 
Florence, and she sank on the sofa exhausted : her nerves, now so 
weakened, were perfectly unstrung by his vehemence, and she wrung 
her hands and wept piteously. 

" You will not tell me his name ? " said Maltravers, softly. " Be it 
so. I will ask no more. I can discover it myself. Fate the Avenger 
will reveal it." 

At the thought he Tew more composed ; and as Florence wept on, 
the unnatural conceni .•ation and fierceness of his mind again gave 
way, and, seating himsek beside her, he uttered all that could soothe, 
and comfort, and console. And Florence was soon soothed ! Ana 
there, while over their heads the grim skeleton was holding the 
funeral pall, they again exchanged their vows, and again, with feelings 
fonder than of old, spoke of love. 



EflNEST MALTKAVEK8. 250 



CHAPTER V. 

" Erichtho, then, 
Breathes her dire murmurs, which enforce him bear 
Her baneful secrets to the spirits of horror." — Mar low. 

With a heavy step Maltravers ascended the stairs of his lonely 
nouse that night, and hepvily, with a suppressed groan, did he sink 
upon the first chair that proffered rest. 

It was intensely cold. During his long interview with Lady 
Florence, his servant had taken the precaution to go to Seam ore 
Place, and make some hasty preparations for the owner's return. But 
the bedroom looked comfortless and bare, the curtains were taken down, 
the carpets were taken up (a single man's housekeeper is wonderfully 
provident in these matters ; the moment his back is turned, she bustles, 
she displaces, she exults ; " things can be put a little to rights ! "). 
Even the fire would not burn clear, but gleamed sullen and fitful from 
the smothering fuel. It was a large chamber, and the lights imper- 
fectly filled it. On the table lay parliamentary papers, and pamphlets, 
and oills, and presentation-books from younger authors — evidences 
of the teeming business of that restless machine of the world. But 
of all this Maltravers was not sensible: the winter frost numbed not 
his feverish veins. His servant, who loved him, as all who saw much 
of Maltravers did, fidgeted anxiously about the room and plied the 
sullen fire, and laid out the comfortable dressing-robe, and placed 
wine on the table, and asked questions which were not answered, and 
pressed service which was not heeded. The little wheels of life go 
on, even when the great wheel is paralysed or broken. Maltravers 
was, if I may so express it, in a kind of mental trance. His emotions 
had left him thoroughly exhausted. He felt that torpor which suc- 
ceeds, and is again the precursor of, great woe. At length he was 
alone, and the solitude half unconsciously restored him to the sense 
of his heavy misery. For it may be observed, that when misfortune 
has stricken us home, the presence of any one seems to interfere 
between the memory and the heart. Withdraw the intruder, and the 
lifted hammer falls at once upon the anvil ! He rose as the door 
closed on his attendant — rose with a start, and pushed the hat from 
his gathered brows. He walked for some moments to and fro, and 
the air of the room, freezing as it was, oppressed him. 

There are times when the arrow quivers within us — in which all 
space seems too confined. Like the wounded hart we could fly on for 
ever ; there is a vague desire of escape — a yearning, almost insane, to 
get out from our own selves : the soul struggles to flee away, and take 
the wings of the morning. 

Lnpatiently, at last, did Maltravers throw open his window ; it 
communicated upon a baksony, built out to command the wide view 



260 ERNEST MALTRAVEXS. 

-tvhich, from a certain height, that part of the park affords. Be 
stepped into the balcony and bared his breast to the keen air. The 
uncomfortable and icy heavens looked down upon the hoar-rime that 
gathered over the grass, and the ghostly boughs of the deathlike 
trees. All things in the world without, brought the thought of the 
grave, and the pause of being, and the withering up of beauty, closer 
and closer to his soul. In the palpable and griping winter, death 
itself seemed to wind round him its skeleton and joyless arms. And 
as thus he stood, and, wearied with contending against, passively 
vielded to, the bitter passions that wrung and gnawed his heart, — he 
heard not a sound at the door below — nor the footsteps on the stairs 
— nor knew he that a visitor was in his room — till he felt a hand 
upon his shoulder, and turning round, he beheld the white and livid 
countenance of Castruccio Cesarini. 

" It is a dreary night and a solemn hour, Maltravers," said the 
Italian, with a distorted smile — " a fitting night and time for my 
interview with you." 

_" Away ! " said Maltravers, in an impatient tone. " I am not at 
.eisure for these mock heroics." 

"Ay, but you shall hear me to the end. I have watched your 
arrival — I have counted the hours in which you remained with her~- 
I have followed you home. If you have human passions, humanity 
itself must be dried up within you, and the wild beast in his cavern 
is not mors fearful to encounter. Thus, then, I seek and brave you. 
Be still. Has Florence revealed to you the name of him who belied 
you, and who betrayed herself to the death ? " 

" Ha ! " said Maltravers, growing very pale, and fixing his eyes on 
Cesarini, " you are not the man — my suspicions lighted elsewhere." 

" I am the man. Do thy worst." 

Scarce were the words uttered, when, with a fierce cry, Maltravers 
threw himself on the Italian; — he tore him from his footing — he 
grasped him in his arms as a child — he literally whirled him around 
and on high ; and in that maddening paroxysm, it was, perhaps, but 
the balance of a feather, in the conflicting elements of revenge and 
reason, which withheld Maltravers from hurling the criminal from the 
fearful height on which they stood. The temptation passed — Cesarini 
leaned, safe, unharmed, but half senseless with mingled rage and fear 
against the wall. 

He was alone — Maltravers had left him — had fled from himself — 
fled into the chamber — fled for refuge from human passions — to the 
wing of the All-Seeing and All-Present. " Father," he groaned, 
sinking on his knees, " support me, save me : without Thee I am 
lost!" 

Slowly Cesarini recovered himself, and re-entered the apartment. 
A string in his brain was already loosened, and, sullen and ferocious, 
he returned again to goad the lion that had spared him. Maltravers 
had already risen from his brief prayer. With locked and rigid coun- 
tenance, with arms folded on his breast,— he stood confronting the 
Italian, who advanced towards him with a menacing brow and arm, 
but halted involuntarily at the sight of that commanding aspect. 

"Well, then," said Maltravers at last, with a tone preternaturally 



EUNEST MALTltAVEIlS. 26L 

calm and low, " you then are the man. Speak on — what arts did you 

employ ? " 

" Your own letter ! _ When, many months ago, I wrote to tell you 
of the hopes it was mine to conceive, and to ask your opinion of her 
1 loved, how did you answer me ? _ With doubts, with depreciation, 
with covert and polished scorn, of the very woman, whom, with a 
deliberate treachery, you afterwards wrested from my worshipping 
and adoring love. That letter I garbled— I made the doubts you 
expressed of my happiness seem doubts of your own. 1 changed the 
dates — I made the letter itself appear written, not on your first ac- 
quaintance with her, but subsequent to your plighted and accepted 
vows. Your own handwriting convicted you of mean suspicion and 
of sordid motives. These were my arts." 

'' They were most noble. Do you abide by them — or repent ?" 

" For what I have done to thee I have no repentance. Nay, I re- 
gard thee still as the aggressor. Thou hast robbed me of her who 
was all the world to me — and, be thine excuses what they may, I hate 
thee with a hate that cannot slumber — that abjures the abject name 
of remorse ! I exult in the very agonies thou endurest. But for her 
—the stricken— the dying ! God, God ! The blow falls upon 
mine own head ! " 

" Dying !" said Maltravers, >,,owl> and with a shudder. " No, no 
— not dying — or what art thou ? ^c'r jaurderer ! And what must 1 
be ? Her avenger ! " 

Overpowered with his own passions, Cesarini sank down, and 
covered his face with his clasped hands. Maltravers stalked gloomily 
to and fro the apartment. There was silence for some moments. 

At length, Maltravers paused opposite Cesarini, and thus addressed 
him: 

" You have come hither, not so much to confess the basest crime of 
which man can be guilty, as to gloat over my anguish, and to brave 
me to revenge my wrongs. Go, man, go — for the present you are 
safe. While she lives, my life is not mine to hazard — if she recover, 
1 can pity you and forgive. To me your offence, foul though it be, 
sinks below contempt itself. It is the consequences of that crime as 
they relate to — to — that noble and suffering woman, which can alone 
raise the despicable into the tragic, and make your life a worthy and 
a necessary offering — not to revenge, but justice: — life for life — 
victim for victim ! 'Tis the old law — 'tis a righteous one." 

" You shall not, with your accursed coldness, thus dispose of me as 
you will, and arrogate the option to smite or save ! No," continued 
Cesarini, stamping his foot — " no ; far from seeking forbearance at 
your hands — I dare and defy you ! You think 1 have injured you — 1, 
on the other hand, consider that the wrong has come from yourself. 
But for you, she might have loved me — have been mine. Let that pass. 
But for you, at least, it is certain that 1 should neither have sullied 
my soul with a vile sin, nor brought the brightest of human beings to 
the grave. If she dies, the murder may be mine, but you were the 
cause — the devil that tempted to the offence. I defy and spit upon 
yo U — I have no softness left m me — my veins are fire — my heart 
thirsts for blood. You— you — have still the iuivilege to see — to 



252 ERNEST MALTftA £KS. 

bless— to tend her : and I — 1, who loved her so — who could have 
kissed the earth she trod on — I — well, well, no matter — I hate you — 
I insult you — I call you villain and dasti A — I throw myself on the 
laws of honour, and I demand that conf ou defer or deny !" 

" Home, doter- home — fall on thv - vs, and pray to Heaven for 
pardon — make up thy dread account- '"-jine not at the days yet thine 
to wash the blaek spot from thy soul. For, while I speak, 1 foresee 
too well that her days are numbered, and with her thread of life is 
entwined thine own. Within twelve hours from her last moment, we 
shall meet again : but now I am as ice and stone, — thou canst not 
move me. Her closing life shall not be darkened by the aspect of 
blood — by the thought of the sacrifice it demands. Begone, or menials 
shall cast thee from my door : those lips are too base to breathe the 
same air as honest men. Begone, I say, begone !" 

Though scarce a muscle moved in the lofty countenance of Mal- 
travers — though no frown darkened the majestic brow — though no 
fire broke from the stedfast and scornful eye — there was a kinaiy 
authority in the aspect, in the extended arm, the stately crest, and a 
power in the swell of the stern voice, which awed and quelled the 
unhappy being whose own passions exhausted and unmanned him. 
He strove _ to fling back scorn to .-c\m, but his lips trembled and his 
voice died in hollow murmurt ivjt.'i.!. tils breast. Maltravers regarded 
him with a crushing and in ei. disdain. The Italian with shame 
and wrath wrestled against himself, but in vain: the cold eye that 
was fixed upon him was as a spell, which the fiend within him could 
not rebel against or resist. Mechanically he moved to the door, then 
turning round, he shook his clenched hand at Maltravers, and with a 
wild, maniaoal laugh, rushed from the apartment. 



CHAPTER VI. 

"Oil some fond breast the parting soul relies." — Grat. 

Not a day passed in which Maltravers was absent from the side of 
Florence. He came early, he went late. He subsided into his 
former character of an accepted suitor, without a word of explara- 
tion with Lord Saxingham. That task was left to Florence. She 
doubtless performed it well, for his lordship seemed satisfied though 
grave, and almost for the first time in his life, sad. Maltravers never 
reverted to the cause of their unhappy dissension. Nor from that 
night did he once give way to whatever might be his more agonised 
and fierce emotions — he never effected to reproach himself — he never 
bewailed with a vain despair their approaching separation. Whatever 
it cost him, he stood collected and stoical in the intense power of his 
self-control. He had but one object, one desire, one hope — to save 
the last hours of Florence Lascelles from every pang — to brighten 
and smooth the passage across the Solemn Bridge. His forethought, 



BRNEST MALTRAVERS. 2C3 

his presence of mind, his care, his tenderness, never forsook him for 
an instant ; they went beyond the attributes of men, they went into 
ail the fine, the indescribable minutia: by which woman makes her 
self, " in pain and anguish," the " ministering angel." It was 
as if he had nerved and braced his whole nature to one duty — as 
if that duty were more felt than affection itself — as if he were re- 
solved that Florence should not remember that she had no mother ! 

And oh, then, how Florence loved him ! how far more luxurious in 
its grateful and clinging fondness, was that love, than the wild and 
jealous fire of their earlier connection ! Her own character, as is 
often the case in lingering illness, became incalculably more gentle 
and softened down, as the shadows closed around it. She loved to 
make him read and talk to her — and her ancient poetry of thought 
now grew mellowed, as it were, into religion, which is indeed poetry 
with a stronger wing. . . There was a world beyond the erave — 
there was life out of the chrysalis sleep of death — they would yet 
be united. And Maltravers, who was a solemn and intense believer 
in the Great Hope, did not neglect the purest and highest of all the 
fountains of solace. 

Often in that quiet room, in that gorgeous mansion, which had 
been the scene of all vain or worldly schemes — of flirtations and feast- 
ings, and political meetings and cabinet dinners, and all the bubbles 
of the passing wave — often there did these persons, whose position 
to each other had been so suddenly and so strangely changed — con- 
verse on those matters — daring and divine — which " make the bridal 
of the earth and sky." 

" How fortunate am I," said Florence, one day, " that my choice 
fell on one who thinks as you do ! How your words elevate and exalt 
me ! — yet once I never dreamt of asking your creed on these ques- 
tions. It is in sorrow or sickness that we learn why Faith was given 
as a soother to man — Faith, which is Hope with a holier name — 
hope that knows neither deceit nor death. Ah, how wisely do you 
speak of the philosophy of belief ! It is, indeed, the telescope through 
winch the stars grow large upon our gaze. And to you, Ernest, 
my beloved — comprehended and known at last — to you 1 leave, when 
I am gone, that monitor — that friend; — you will know yourself what 
you teach to me. And when you look not on the heaven alone but in 
all space — on all the illimitable creation, you will know that I am 
there ! For the home of a spirit is wherever spreads the Universal. 
Presence of God. And to what numerous stages of being, what 
paths, what duties, what active and glorious tasks in other worlds 
may we not be reserved — perhaps to know and share them together, 
ana mount age after age higher in the scale of being. For surely 
in heaven there is no pause or torpor — we do not lie down in calm 
and unimprovable repose. Movement and progress will remain the 
law and condition of existence. And there will be efforts and duties 
for us above as there have been below." 

It was in tins theory, which Maltravers shared, that the character 
of Florence, her overflowing life and activity of thought — Ler aspi- 
rations, her ambition, were still displayed. It was not so much 
to the calm and rest of the grave that she extended her unre- 



2Gt E-airasi MM-fSAVEsa. 

luctant gaze, as to the light and glory of a renewed and progressive 
existence. 

It was while thus they sat, the low voice of Ernest, tranquil yet 
half trembling with the emotions he sought to restrain — sometime? 
sobering, sometimes yet more elevating, the thoughts of Florence, 
that Lord Vargrave was announced, and Lumley Ferrers, who had 
now succeeded to that title, entered the room. It was the first 
time that Florence had seen him since the death of his uncle — the 
first time Maltravers had seen him since the evening so fatal to 
Florence. Both started — Maltravers rose and walked to the window. 
Lord Vargrave took the hand of his cousin and pressed it to his 
lips in silence, while his lips betokened feelings that for once were 
genuine. 

" You see, Lumley, I am resigned," said Florence, with a sweet 
smile. " I am resigned and happy." 

Lumley glanced at Maltravers, and met a cold, scrutinizing, piercmg 
eye, from which he shrank with some confusion. He recovered him- 
self in an instant. 

" I am rejoiced, my cousin, I am rejoiced," said he, very earnestly, 
" to see Maltravers here again. Let us now hope the best." 

Maltravers walked deliberately up to Lumley, " Will you take my 
hand now, too ?" said he, with deep meaning in his tone. 

" More willingly than ever," said Lumley ; and he did not shrink 
as he said it. 

" I am satisfied," replied Maltravers, after a pause, and in a voice 
that expressed more than his words. 

There is in some natures so great a hoard of generosity, that it often 
dulls their acuteness. Maltravers could not helieve that frankness 
could be wholly a mask — it was an hypocrisy he knew not of. He 
himself was not incapable, had circumstances so urged him, of great 
crimes ; nay, the design of one crime, lay at that moment deadly and 
dark within his heart, for he had some passions which in so resolute a 
character could produce, should the wind waken them into storm, 
dire and terrible effects. Even at the age of thirty, it was yet uncer- 
tain whether Ernest Maltravers might oecome an exemplary or an 
evil man. But he could sooner have strangled a foe than taken the 
hand of a man whom he had once betrayed. 

" I love to think you friends," said Florence, gazing at them affec- 
tionately, " and to you, at least, Lumley, such friendship should be a 
blessing. I always loved you much and dearly, Lumley — loved you 
as a brother, though our characters often jarred." 

Lumley winced. " For Heaven's sake," he cried, " do not speak 
thus tenderly to me — i cannot bear it, and look on you and 
think " 

" That I am dying. Kind words become us best, when our words 
are approaching to the last. Bat enough of this — I grieved for your 
loss." 

" My poor uncle !" said Lumley, eagerly changing the conversation 
— "the shock was sudden ; and melancholy duties have absorbed me 
so till this day, that I could not come even to you. It soothed me, 
however, to learn, in answer to my daily inquiries, that Ernest waa 



EENEST MAI/rEAVERS. 2f.J 

here. For my part," he added with a faint smile, " I have had duties 
ts well as honours devolved en me. I am left guardian to an heiress, 
and betrothed to a child." 

" How do you mean r " 

" Why, my poor uncle was so fondly attached to his wife's daughter, 
that he has left her the bulk of his property : a very small estate — not 
£2,000 a year — goes with the title (a new title, too, which requires 
twice as much to carry it off and make its pinchbeck pass for gold). 
In order, however, to serve a double purpose, secure to his protegee 
his own beloved peerage, and atone to his nephew for the loss of 
wealth — he has left it a last request, that I should marry the young 
lady over whom I am appointed guardian, when she is eighteen — alas ! 
1 shall then be at the other side of forty ! If she does not take to so 
mature a bridegroom, she loses thirty — only thirty of the £200,000 
settled upon her, which goes to me as a sugar-plum after the nauseous 
draught of the voung lady's 'No.' Now, you know all. His widow, 
really an exemplary young woman, has a jointure of £1,500 a year, and 
the villa. It is not much, but she is contented." 

The lightness of the new peer's tone revolted Maltravers, and he 
turned impatiently away. But Lord Vargrave, resolving not to suffer 
the conversation to glide back to sorrowful subjects, which he always 
hated, turned round to Ernest, and said, " Well, my dear Ernest, I 

see by the papers that you are to have N 's late appointment — it 

is a very rismg office. I congratulate you." 

" I have refused," said Maltravers, drily. 

" Bless me !— indeed ! — why ? " 

Ernest bit his lip, and frowned ; but his glance wandering uncon- 
sciously at Elorence, Lumley thought he detected the true reply to 
his question, and became mute. 

The conversation was afterwards embarrassed and broken up ; 
Lumley went away as soon as he could, and Lady Elorence that 
night had a severe fit, and could not leave her bed the next day. 
That confinement she had struggled against to the last ; and now, 
day by day, it grew more frequent and inevitable. The steps of 
Death became accelerated. And Lord Saxingham, wakened at last 
to the mournful truth, took his place by his daughter's side, and 
forgot that he was a cabinet minister. 



CHAPTER VII. 

" Away, my friends, why take such pains to know, 
What some brave marble soon in church shall show?" — Cbabbb. 

It may seem strange, but Maltravers had never loved Lady Florence 
as he did now. Was it the perversity of human nature, that makes 
the things of mortality dearer to us in proportion as they fade from 
our hopes, like birds whose hues are only unfolded when they take 
win" and vanish amidst the skies ; or was it that he had ever doted 



206 ERNEST MALTRAVEAS 

more on loveliness of mind than that of form, and the first bloomed 
out the more, the more the last decayed? A thing to protect, to 
soothe, to shelter — oh, how dear it is to the pride of man ! The 
haughty woman who can stand alone and requires no leaning-place in 
our neart, loses the spell of her sex. 

I pass over those stages of decline gratuitously painful to record ; 
and which, in this case, mine cannot be the cold and technical hand to 
trace. At length came that time when physicians could define within 
a few days the final hour of release. And latterly the mocking pru- 
deries of rank had been laid aside, and Maltravers had, for some 
hours at least in the day, taken his watch beside the couch to which 
the admired and brilliant Florence Lascelles was now almost constantly 
reduced. But her high and heroic spirit was with her to the last. To 
the last she could endure love, and nope. One day when Maltravers 
left his post, she besought him, with more solemnity than usual, to 
return that evening. She fixed the precise hour, and she sighed 
heavily when he departed. _ Maltravers paused in the hall to speak to 
the physician, who was just quitting Lord Saxingham's library. 
Ernest spoke to him for some moments calmly, and when he heard 
the fiat, he betrayed no other emotion than a slight quiver of the lip ! 
" I must not weep for her yet," he muttered, as he turned from the 
door. He went thence to the house of a gentleman of his own age, 
with whom he had formed that kind of acquaintance which never 
amounts to familiar friendship, but rests upon mutual respect, and is 
often more ready than professed friendship itself to confer mutual 
service. Colonel Danvers was a man who usually sat next to Mal- 
travers in parliament ; they voted together, and thought alike on prin- 
ciples both of politics and honour : they would have lent thousands to 
each other without bond or memorandum ; and neither ever wanted a 
warm and indignant advocate when he was abused behind his back in 
the presence of the other. Yet their tastes and ordinary habits were 
not congenial ; and when they met in the streets, they never said, as 
they would to companions they esteemed less, " Let us spend the day 
together!" Such forms of acquaintance are not uncommon among 
honourable men who have already formed habits and pursuits of then- 
own, which they cannot surrender even to friendship. Colonel 
Danvers was not at home — they believed he was at his Hub, of which 
Ernest also was a member. Thither Maltravers bent his way. On 
arriving, he found that Danvers had been at the club an hour ago, and 
left word that he should shortly return. Maltravers entered and 
quietly sat down. The room was full of its daily loungers ; but he 
did not shrink from, he did not even heed, the crowd. He felt not 
the desire of solitude— there was solitude enough within him. Several 
distinguished public men were there, grouped around the fire, and 
many of the hangers-on and satellites of political life ; they were talk- 
ing with eagerness and animation, for it was a season of great party- 
conflict. Strange as it may seem, though Malt ravers was then scarcely 
sensible of their conversation, it all came back vividly and faithfully 
on him afterwards, in the first hours of reflection on his own future 
plans, and served to deepen and consolidate his disgust of the world. 
They were discussing the character of a great statesman whom, 



ERNEST MALTRAVER.S. 267 

warmed but hv the loftiest and purest motives, they were unable to 
understand. Their gross suspicions, their coarse jealousies, their cal- 
culations of patriotism by place, all that strips the varnish from the 
face of that fair harlot — Political Ambition — sank like caustic into his 
spirit. A gentleman, seeing him sit silent, with his hat over his moody 
brows, civilly extended to rum the paper he was reading. 
" It is the second edition ; you will find the last French express." 
"Thank you," said Maltravers ; and the civil man started as he 
heard the brief answer ; there was something so inexpressibly prostrate 
and broken-spirited in the voice that uttered it. 

Maltravers' eyes fell mechanically on the columns, and caught his 
own name. That work which, in the fair retirement of Temple Grove 
it had so pleased him to compose — in every page and every thought 
of which Florence had been consulted— which was so inseparably asso- 
ciated with her image, and glorified by the light of her kindred genius 
— was just published. It had been completed long since; but the 
publisher had, for some excellent reason of the craft, hitherto delayed 
its appearance. Maltravers knew nothing of its publication ; he had 
meant, after his return to town, to have sent to forbid its appearance ; 
but his thoughts of late had crushed everything else out of his memory 
— he had forgotten its existence. And now, in all the pomp and parade 
of authorship, it was sent into the world ! Now, now, when it was 
like an indecent mockery of the Bed of Death — a sacrilege, an impiety ! 
There is a terrible disconnection between the author and the man — 
the author's life and the man's life — the eras of visible triumph may be 
those_ of the most intolerable, though unrevealed and unconjectured 
anguish. The book that delighted us to compose may first appear in 
the hour when all things under the sun are joyless. This had been 
Ernest Maltravers' most favoured work. It "had been conceived in a 
happy hour of great ambition — it had been executed with that desire 
of truth which, in the mind of genius, becomes Art. How little in 
the solitary hours stolen from sleep had he thought of self, and that 
labourer's hire called " fame !'' how had he dreamt that he was pro- 
mulgating secrets to make his kind better, and wiser, and truer to the 
great aims of life ! How had Florence, and Florence alone, understood 
the beatings of his heart in every page ! And now ! — it so chanced 
that the work was reviewed in the paper he read — it was not only a 
hostile criticism, it was a personally abusive diatribe, a virulent in- 
vective. All the motives that can darken or defile were ascribed to 
him. All the mean spite of some mean mind was sputtered forth. 
Had the_ writer known the awful blow that awaited Maltravers at that 
time, it is not in man's nature but that he would have shrunk from 
this petty gall upon the wrung withers ; but, as I have said, there is 
a terrible disconnection between the author and the man. The first 
is always at our mercy — of the last we know nothing. At such an 
hour Maltravers could feel none of the contempt that proud — none of 
the wrath that vain, minds feel at these stings. He could feel noth- 
ing but an undefined abhorrence of the world, and of the aims and 
objects he had pursued so long. Yet that even he did not then feel. 
He was in a dream ■ but as men remember dreams, so when he awoke did 
hs loathe his own former aspirations, and sicken at their base rewards. 



268 ERNEST HALTEAYEM. 

It was the first time since his first year of inexperienced authorship, 
that abuse had had the power even to vex him for a moment. Bus 
nere, when the cup was already full, was the drop that overflowed. 
The great column of his past world was gone, and all else seemed 
crumbling away. 

At length Colonel Danvers entered. Maltravers drew him aside, 
and they left the club. 

" Danvers," said the latter, " the time in which I told you I should 
need your services is near at hand ; let me see you, if possible, to-night." 

" Certainly — I shall be at the House till eleven. After that hoar 
you will find me at home." 

"I thank you." 

" Cannot this matter be arranged amicably P " 

" No, it is a quarrel of life and death." 

"Yet the world is really growing too enlightened for these old 
mimicries of single combat." 

" There are some cases in which human nature and its deep wrongs 
will be ever stronger than the world and its philosophy. Duels and 
wars belong to the same principle ; both are sinful on light grounds 
and poor pretexts. But it is not sinful for a soldier to defend his 
country from invasion, nor for man, with a man's heart, to vindicate 
truth and honour with his life. The robber that asks me for money I 
am allowed to shoot. Is the robber that tears from me treasures never 
to be replaced, to go free \ These are the inconsistencies of a pseudo- 
ethics, which, as long as we are made of flesh and blood, we can 
never subscribe to." 

" Yet the ancients," said Danvers, with a smile, " were as passionate 
as ourselves, and they dispensed with duels." 

"Yes, because they resorted to assassination!" answered Mal- 
travers, with a gloomy frown. " As in revolutions all law is suspended, 
so are there stormy events and mighty injuries in life, which are as 
revolutions to individuals. Enough of this — it is no time to argue 
like the school-men. When we meet you shall know all, and you 
will judge like me. Good day ! " 

"What, are you going already? Maltravers, you look ill, your 
hand is feverish— you should take advice." 

Maltravers smiled — but the smile was not like his own — shook his 
head, and strode rapidly away. 

Three of the London clocks, one after the other, had told the hour 
of nine, as a tall and commanding figure passed up the street towards 
Saxingham House. Five doors before you reach that mansion there 
is a crossing, and at this spot stood a young man, in whose face youth 
itself looked sapless and blasted. It was then March ; — the third of 
March ; the weather was unusually severe and biting, even for that 
angry month. There had been snow in the morning, and it lay white 
and dreary in various ridges along the street. But the wind was not 
still m the keen but quiet sharpness of frost ; on the contrary, it 
howled almost like a hurricane through the desolate thoroughfares, and 
the lamps flickered unsteadily in the turbulent gusts. Perhaps it was 
these blasts which increased the haggardness of aspect in the young 
man I have mentioned. His hair, which was much longer than is 



ERNEST 3IAXTKAVEBS. 210 

SCir.TnorJy worn, was tossed wildly from cheeks pretermitting 
shrunken, hollow, and livid : and the frail, thin form seemed scarsfcty 
able to support itself against the rush of the winds. 

As the tall figure, which, in its masculine stature and proportions, 
and a peculiar and nameless grandeur of bearing, strongly contrasted 
that of the younger man, now came, to the spot where the streets met, 
it paused abruptly. 

" You are here once more, Castruccio Cesarini • it is well ! " said the 
low but ringing voice of Ernest Maltravers. " This, I believe, will not 
be our last interview to-night." 

"I ask you, sir," said Cesarini, in a tone in which pride straggled 
with emotion — " I ask you to tell me how she is ; whether you know — 
I cannot speak " 

"Your work is nearly done," answered Maltravers. "A few hours 
more, and your victim, for she is yours, will bear her tale to-the Great 
Judgment Seat. Murderer as you are, tremble, for your own hour 
approaches ! " 

" She diea, and I cannot see her ! and you are permitted that last 
glimpse of human perfectness ; you who never loved her as I did ; 
you — hated and detested ! you " 

Cerarini paused, and his voice died away, choked in his own con- 
vulsive gaspings for breath. 

Maltravers looked at him from the height of his erect and lofty form, 
with a merciless eye ; for in this one quarter, Maltravers had shut out 
pity from his soul. 

" Weak criminal ! " said he, " hear me. You received at my hands 
forbearance, friendship, fostering and anxious care. When your own 
follies plunged you into penury, mine was the unseen hand that plucked 
you from famine, or the prison. I strove to redeem, and save, and 
raise you, and endow your miserable spirit with the thirst and the 
power of honour and independence. The agentof that wish wasElorence 
Lascelles ; you repaid us well ! a base and fraudulent forgery, attach- 
ing meanness to me, fraught with agony and death to her. Your con- 
science at last smote you ; you revealed to her your crime — one spark 
of manhood made you reveal it also to myself. Fresh as I was in that 
moment, from the contemplation of the ruin you had made, I curbed 
the impulse that would have crushed the life from your bosom. I told 
you to live on while life was left to her. If she recovered, I could 
forgive ; if she died, I must avenge. We entered into that solemn 
compact, and in a few hours the bond will need the seal : it is the blood 
of one of us. Castruccio Cesarini, there is justice in heaven. Deceive 
yourself not ; you will fall by my hand. When the hour comes, you 
will hear from me. Let me pass — I have no more now to say." 

Every syllable of this speech was uttered with that thrilling distinct- 
ness which seems as if the depth of the heart spoke in the voice. But 
Cesarini did not appear to understand its import. He seized Mal- 
travers by the arm, and looked in his face with a wild and menacing 
glare. 

" Did you tell me she was dying ? " he said. " I ask you that ques- 
tion : why do you not answer me ? Oh, by the way, you threaten me 
with your vengeance. Know you not that I long to meet you front to 



SsVO ERNEST MAlTjiAVtHd. 

front, and to the death ? Did I not tell you so — did I not try to more 
your slow blood — to insult you into a conflict in which I should hare 
gloried ? Yet then you were marble." 

" Because my wrong I could forgive, and hers — there was then a 
hope that hers might not need the atonement. Away !" 

Maltravers shook the hold of the Italian from his arm, and passed 
on. A wild, sharp yell of despair rang after him, and echoed in bis 
ear as he strode the long, dim, solitary stairs that led to the death-bed 
of Florence Lascelles. 

Maltravers entered the room adjoining that which contained the 
sufferer — the same room, still gay and cheerful, in which had been his 
first interview with Florence since their reconciliation. 

Here he found the physician dozing in a fauteuil. Lady Florence 
had fallen asleep during the last two or three hours. Lord Saxingham 
was in his own apartment, deeply and noisily affected ; for it was not 
thought that Florence could survive the night. 

Maltravers sat himself quietly down. Before him, on a table, lay 
several manuscript books, gaily and gorgeously bound ; he mecham- 
cally_ opened them. Florence's fair, noble Italian characters met his 
eye in every page. Her rich and active mind, her love for poetry, her 
thirst for knowledge, her indulgence of deep thought, spoke from those 
pages like the ghosts of herself. Often, underscored with the marks of 
her approbation, he chanced upon extracts from his own works, some- 
times upon reflections by the writer herself, not inferior in truth and 
depth to his own ; snatches of wild verse never completed, but of a 
power and energy beyond the delicate grace of lady-poets; brief, 
vigorous, criticisms on books, above the common holiday studies of 
the sex : indignant and sarcastic aphorisms on the real world, with 
high and sad bursts of feeling upon the ideal one ; all chequering and 
enriching the various volumes, told of the rare gifts with which this 
singular girl was endowed — a herbalj as it were, of withered blossoms 
that might have borne Hesperian fruits. And sometimes in these out- 
pourings of the full mind and laden heart were allusions to himself, so 
tender and so touching — the pencilled outline of his features, traced 
by memory in a thousand aspects — the reference to former interviews 
and conversations — the dates and hours marked with a woman's 
minute and treasuring care ! — all these tokens of genius and of love 
spoke to him with a voice that said, " And this creature is lost to you 
for ever : you never appreciated Ltr till the time for her departure was 
irrevocably fixed !" 

Maltravers uttered a deep g.oan; all the past rushed over him. 
Her romantic passion for one jet unknown — her interest in his 

flory — her zeal for his life of Afe, his spotless and haughty name, 
t was as if with her, Fame and Ambition were dying also, and 
henceforth nothing but common clay and sordid motives were to be 
left on earth. 

How sudden — how awfully sudden had been the blow ! Tree, there 
had been an absence of some months in which the change had ope- 
rated. But absence is a blank, a nonentity. He had left her in 
apparent health, in the # tide of prosperity and pride. He saw her 
again —stricken down in body and temper— chastened — humbled— 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 27l 

dying. And this being, so bright and lofty, how had she loved him ' 
Never had he been so loved, except in that morning dream, haunteo. 
by the vision of the lost and dim-remembered Aiice. Never on earth 
could he be so loved again. The air and aspect of the whole chamber 
grew to him painful and oppressive. It was full of her — the owner ! 
There the harp, which so well became her muse-like form that it was 
associated with her like a part of herself ! There the pictures, fresh 
and glowing from her hand, — the grace — the harmony — the classic and 
simple taste everywhere displayed ! 

Rousseau has left to us an immortal portrait of the lover waiting 
tor the first embraces of his mistress. But to wait with a pulse as 
feverish, a brain as dizzy, for her last look — to await the moment of 
despair, not rapture— to feel the slow and dull time as palpable a 
load upon the heart, yet to shrink from your own impatience, and wish 
that the ajjony of suspense might endure for ever — this, oh, this is a 
picture of intense passion — of flesh and blood reality — of the rare and 
solemn epochs of our mysterious life — which had been worthier the 
genius of that " Apostle of Affliction !" 

At length the door opened ; the favourite attendant of Florence 
looked in. 

" Is Mr. Maltravers there ? 0, sir, my lady is awake and would 
see you." 

Maltravers rose, but his feet were glued to the ground, his sinking 
heart stood still — it was a mortal terror that possessed him. With a 
deep sigh he shook off the numbing spell, and passed to the bedside 
of Florence. 

She sat up, propped by pillows, and as he sank beside her, and 
clasped her wan, transparent hand, she looked at him with a smile of 
pitying love. 

" You have been very, very kind to me," she said, after a pause, 
and with a voice which had altered even since the last time he heard 
it. " You have made that part of life from which human nature 
shrinks with dread, the happiest and the brightest of all my short and 
vain existence. My own dear Ernest — Heaven reward you ! " 

A few grateful tears dropped from her eyes, and they fell on the 
hand which she bent her lips to kiss. 

"It was not here — nor amidst streets and the noisy abodes of 
anxious, worldly men — nor was it in this harsh and dreary season of 
the year, that I could have wished to look my last on earth. Could 
1 have seen the face of Nature — could I have watched once more with 
the summer sun amidst those gentle scenes we loved so well, Death 
would have had no difference from sleep. But what matters it P 
With you there are summer and Nature everywhere ? " 

Maltravers raised his face, and their eyes met in silence — it was a 
long, fixed gaze, which spoke more than all words could. Her head 
dropped on his shoulder, and there it lay, passive and motionless, for 
some moments. A soft step glided into the room — it was the 
unhappy father's. He came to the other side of his daughter, and 
sobbed convulsively. 

She then raised herself, and even in the shades of deatn, a faint 
blush passed over her cheek. 



272 ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 

" My good, dear father, what comfort will it give you hereafter to 
think how fondly you spoiled your Florence ! " 

Lord Saxingham emud not answer : he clasped her in his arms and 
wept over her. Then he broke away — looked on her with a, 
shudder — 

" O God ! " he cried, " she is dead — she is dead !" 

Maltravers started. The physician kindly approached, and taking 
Lord Saxingham's hand, led him from the room — he went mute and 
obedient like a child. 

But the struggle was not yet past. Florence once more opened 
her eyes, and Maltravers uttered a cry of joy. But along those eyes 
the film was darkening rapidly, as still through the mist and 
shadow, they sought the beloved countenance which hung over her. as 
if to breathe life into waning life. Twice her lips moved, but her 
voice failed her ; she shook her head sadly. 

Maltravers hastily held to her mouth a cordial which lay ready on the 
table near her, but scarce had it moistened her lips, when her whole 
frame grew heavier and heavier, in his clasp. Her head once more sank 
upon his bososn — she thrice gasped wildly for breath _ — and at 
length, raising her hand on high, life struggled into its expiring ray. 

" There — above ! — Ernest — that name — Ernest ! " 

Yes, that name was the last she uttered ; she was evidently 
conscious of that thought, for a smile, as her voice again faltered — a 
smile sweet and serene — that smile never seen but on the faces of the 
dying and the dead — borrowed from a light that is not of this world- 
settled on her brow, her lips, her whole countenance; still she 
breathed, but the breath grew fainter ; at length, without murmur, 
sound, or struggle, it passed away — the head drooped from his bosom 
— the form fell from his arms — aH was over! 



CHAPTER VIII. 

*' * * * Is this the promised end ? " — Lear. 

IT was two hours after that scene before Maltravers left the house. 
It was then just on the stroke of the first hour of morning. To him, 
while he walked through the streets, and the sharp winds howled on 
his path, it was as if a strange and wizard life had passed into and sup- 
ported him — a sort of drowsy, dull existence. He was like a sleep- 
walker, unconscious of all around him ; yet his steps went safe and 
free ; and the one thought that possessed his being — into which all 
intellect seemed shrunk — the thought, not fiery nor vehement, but calm, 
stern, and solemn — the thought of revenge — seemed, as it were, 
grown his soul itself. He arrived at the door of Colonel Danvers, 
mounted the stairs, and as his friend advanced to meet him, said 
c&Wy, " Now, then, the hour has arrived." 

'" ^iut what would you do now?" 



ERNEST MALTRAVERS. 273 

"Come ■with me, and you shall learn." 

"Very well, my carriage is below. Will you direct the ser- 
vants r"' 

Maltravcrs nodded, gave his orders to the careless footman, and 
the two friends were soon driving through the less known and 
courtly regions of the giant city. It was then that Maltravers 
concisely stated to Danvers the fraud that had been practised by 
Cesarini. 

" lou will go with me now," concluded Maltravers, " to his 
house. To do him justice, he is no coward ; he has not shrunk from 
giving me his address, nor will he shrink from the atonement I 
demand. 1 snail wait below while you arrange our meeting — at day 
break for to-morrow. 

Danvers was antonished and even appalled by the discovery made 
to liim. There was something so unusual and strange in the whole 
affair. But neither his experience, nor his principles of honour, could 
suggest any alternative to the plan proposed. For though not 
regarding the cause of quarrel in the same light as Maltravers, and 
putting aside all question as to the right of the latter to constitute 
himself the champion of the betrothed, or the avenger of the dead, it 
seemed clear to the soldier that a man whose confidential letter had 
been garbled by another for the purpose of slandering his truth and 
calumniating his name, had no option but contempt, or the sole retri- 
bution (wretched though it be) which the customs of the higher class 
permit to those who live within its pale. But contempt for a wrong 
that a sorrow so tragic had followed — was that option in human phi- 
losophy ? 

The carriage stopped at a door in a narrow lane in an obscure 
suburb. Yet, dark as all the houses around were, lights were seen in 
the upper windows of Cesarini's residence, passing to and fro ; and 
scarce had the servant's loud knock echoed through the dim tho- 
roughfare, ere the door was opened. Danvers descended, and entered 
the passage — " Oh, sir, I am so glad you are come ! " said an old 
woman, pale and trembling ; " he do take on so !" 

" There is no mistake," asked Danvers, halting ; " an Italian gen- 
tleman named Cesarini lodges here ?" 

" Yes, sir, poor cretur — I sent for you to come to him — for says I 
to my boy, says I " 

" 'U'hom do you take me for ?" 

" Why, la, sir, you be's the doctor, ben't you ?" 

Danvers made no reply ; he had a mean opinion of the courage of 
one who could act dishonourably ; he thought there was some design 
to cheat bis friend out of his revenge ; accordingly he ascended the 
stairs, motioning the woman to precede him. 

He came back to the door of the carriage in a few minutes. " Let 
us go home, Maltravers," said he, " this man is not in a state to meet 
you." 

" Ha ! " cried Maltravers, frowning darkly, and all his long-smo- 
thered indignation rushing like fire through every vein of his rpody ; 
" would he shrink from tne atonement P" he pushed Danvers impa- 
tiently aside, leapt from the carriage, and rushed up stairs. 

x 



274 ERNEST MALTEAVEKS. 

Danvers followed. 

Heated, wrought-up, furious, Ernest Maltravers burst into a 
small and squalid chamber ; from the closed doors of which, through 
many chinks, had gleamed the light that told him Cesarini was 
within. And Cesarini's eyes, blazing with horrible (ire, were the 
first object that met his gaze. Maltravers stood still, as if frozen 
into stone. 

"Ha! ha!" laughed a shrill and shrieking voice, which contrasted 
dreadly with the accents of the soft Tuscan, in which the wild words 
were strung — " who comes here with garments dyed in blood ? You 
cannot accuse me — for my blow drew no blood, it went straight to the 
heart — it tore no flesh by the way ; we Italians poison our victims [ 
Where art thou — where art thou, Maltravers ? I am ready. Coward, 
you do not come ! Oh, yes, yes, here you are ; — the pistols — I will not 
fight so. I am a wild beast. Let us rend each other with our teeth 
and talons ! " 

Huddled up like a heap of confused and jointless limbs in the fur- 
thest corner of the room, lay the wretch, a raving maniac ; — two men 
keeping their firm gripe on him, which, ever and anon, with the 
mighty strength of madness, he shook off, to fall back senseless and 
exhausted; his strained and bloodshot eyes starting from their 
sockets, the slaver gathering round his lips, his raven hair standing on 
end, his delicate and symmetrical features distorted into a hideous 
and Gorgon aspect. It was, indeed, an appalling and sublime spec- 
tacle, full of an awful moral, the meeting of the foes ! Here stood 
Maltravers, strong beyond the common strength of men, in health, 
power, conscious superiority, premeditated vengeance — wise, gifted: 
all his faculties ripe, developed, at his command ; — the complete and 
all-armed man, prepared for defence and offence against every foe — a 
man who once roused in a righteous quarrel would not have quailed 
before an army ; and there and thus was his dark and fierce purpose 
dashed from his soul, shivered into atoms at his feet. He felt the 
nothingness of man and man's wrath — in the presence of the madman 
on whose head the thunderbolt of a greater curse than human anger 
ever breathes had fallen. In his horrible affliction the Criminal 
triumphed over the Avenger ! 

"Yes! yes!" shouted Cesarini, again ; "they tell me she is dying: 
but he is by her side ; — pluck him thence — he s.iall not touch her 
hand — she shall not bless him — she is mine — if 1 killed her, I have 
saved her from him— she is mine in death. Let me in, I say, — I will 
come in, — I will, I will see her, and strangle him at her feet." With 
that, by a tremendous effort, he tore himself from the clutch of his 
holders, and with a sudden and exultant bound sprang across the 
room, and stood face to face to Maltravers. The proud brave man 
turned pale, and recoiled a step—" It is he ! it is he ! " shrieked 
the maniac, and he leaped like a tiger at the throat of his 
rival. _ Maltravers quickly seized ins arm, and whirled liim round. 
Cesarini fell heavily on the floor, mute, senseless, and in strong 
jonvulsions. 

"Mysterious Providence!" murmured Maltravers, "thou hast 
ustly rebuked the mortal for dreaming he mi^ht arrogate to himself 



ERNEST MALTHA VISES. 275 

thy privilege of vengeance. Forgive the sinner, God, as I do— as 
thou teachest this stubborn heart to forgive — as she forgave who is 
now with thee, a blessed saint in heaven ! " 

When, some minutes afterwards, the doctor, who had been sent for, 
airived, the head of the stricken patient lay on the lap of his foe, and 
it was the hanc 1 of Maltravers tnat wiped the froth from the white 
lips, and the voice of Maltravers that strove to soothe, and the tears 
ot Maltravers that were falling oi» that fiery brow. 

" Tend him, sir, tend him as my brother," said Maltravers, hiding 
his face as he resigned the charge. " Let him have all that can alle- 
viate and cure — remove him hence to some fitter abode — send for the 

best advice. Restore him, and — and " He could say no more, 

but left the room abruptly. 

It was afterwards ascertained that Cesarini had remained in the 
streets after his short interview with Ernest ; that at length he had 
knocked at Lord Saxingham's door just in the very hour when death 
had claimed its victim. He heard the announcement — he sought to 
force his way upstairs — they thrust him from the house, and nothing 
more of him was known till he arrived at his own door, an hour 
before Danvers and Maltravers came, in raging frenzy. Perhaps by 
one of the dim erratic gleams of light which always chequer the dark- 
ness of insanity, he retained some faint remembrance of his compact 
and assignation with Maltravers, which had happily guided bis steps 

back to his abode. 

****** 

It was two months after this scene, a lovely Sabbath morning, in 
the earliest May, as Lumley, Lord vargrave, sat alone, by the win- 
dow in his late uncle's villa, in his late uncle's easy-chair — his eyes 
were resting musingly on the green lawn on which the windows 
opened, or rather on two forms that were seated upon a rustic bench 
in the middle of the sward. One was the widow in her weeds, the 
other was that fair and lovely child destined to be the bride of the new 
lord. The hands of the mother and daughter were clasped each in 
each. There was sadness in the faces of both— deeper if more resigned 
on that of the elder, for the child sought to console her parent, and 
grief in childhood comes with a butterfly's wing. 

Lumley gazed on them both, and on the child more earnestly. 

" She is very lovely," he said ; " she will be very rich. After all, I 
am not to be pitied. I am a peer, and I have enough to live upon at 
present. I am a rising man — our party want peers ; and though I 
could not have had more than a subaltern^ seat at the Treasury Board 
six months ago, when I was an active, zealous, able commoner, now 
that I am a lord, with what they call a stake in the country, I may 
open my mouth and — bless me ! I know not how many windfalls 
may drop in ! My uncle was wiser than I thought in wrestling for 
this peerage, which he won and I wear ! — Then, by-and-by, just at the 
age when I want to marry and have an heir (and a pretty wile saves 
one a vast deal of trouble), £200,000 and a young beauty ! Come, 
come, I have strong cards in my hands if I play them tolerably. I 
must take care that she falls desperately in love with me. Leave me 
alone fur that — I know the sex, and have never failed except in ■ 



276 EKNEST MALTKAVER8. 

all, that poor Florence ! Well, it is no use regretting ! Like thrifty 
artists, we must paint out the unmarketable picture, and call luckier 
creations to fill up the same canvas ! " 

Here the servant interrupted Lord Vargrave' s meditation by bring- 
ing in the letters and the newspapers which had just been forwarded 
from his town house. Lord Vargrave had spoken in the Lords on 
the previous Friday, and he wished to see what the Sunday newspapers 
said of his speech. So he took up one of the leading papers Defore 
he opened the letters. His eyes rested upon two paragraphs in close 
neighbourhood with each other : the first ran thus : 

" The celebrated Mr. Maltravers has abruptly resigned his seat for 

the of , and left town yesterday on an extended tour on the 

Continent. Speculation is busy on the causes of the singular and un- 
expected self-exile of a gentleman so distinguished — in the very zenith 
of his career." 

" So, he has given up the game ! " muttered Lord Vargrave ; " he 
was never a practical man — I am glad he is out of the way. But 
what's this about myself ?" 

" We hear that important changes are to take place in the govern- 
ment — it is said that ministers are at last alive to the necessity of 
strengthening themselves with new talent. Among other appoint- 
ments confidently spoken of in the best-informed circles, we learn 

that Lord Vargrave is to have the place of . It will be a 

popular appointment. Lord Vargrave is not a holiday orator, a mere 
declamatory rhetorician — but a man of clear business-like views, and 
was highly thought of in the House of Commons. He has also the 
art of attaching his friends, and his frank, manly character cannot fail 
to have its due effect with the English public. In another column of 
our journal our readers will see a full report of his excellent maiden 
speech in the House of Lords, on Friday last : the sentiments there 
expressed do the highest honour to his lordship's patriotism and 
sagacity." 

" Very well, very well indeed ! " said Lumley, rubbing his hands ; 
and turning to his letters, his attention was drawn to one with an 
enormous seal, marked " Private and confidential." He knew before 
he opened it that it contained the offer of the appointment alluded to 
in the newspaper. He read, and rose exultantly ; passing through 
the French windows, he joined Lady Vargrave and Evelyn on the 
lawn, and as he smiled on the mother and caressed the child, the 
scene and the group made a pleasant picture of English domestic 
happiness. 

Here ends the First Portion of this work : it ends in the view tha* 
bounds us when we look on the practical world with the outward un- 
spiritual eye — and see life that dissatisfies justice, — for life is so seen 
but in fragments. The influence of fate seems so small on the man 
who, in erring, but errs as the egoist, and shapes out of ill some use 
that can profit himself. But Fate hangs a shadow so vast on the 
heart that errs but in venturing abroad, and knows only in others the 
sources of sorrow and joy. 

Go alone, Maltravers, unfriended, remote — thy present a waste, 



EBNEST MALTUAVERS. 277 

and thy past life a ruin, go forth to the future !— Go, Ferrers, light 
cynic— with the crowd take thy way,— complacent, elated,— no cloud 
upon conscience, for thou seest but sunshine on fortune. — Go forth to 

Human life is compared to the circle— Is the simile just ? All lines 
that are drawn from the centre to touch the circumference, by the 
law of the circle, are equal. But the lines that are drawn from the 
heart of the man to the verge of his destiny— do they equal each 
other?— Alas! some seem so brief, and some lengthen on as for 
ever. 



BSD OF THE FIRST PAIit OS EBNEST MAKTKATOB8. 



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DOGS AND THEIR WAYS. By the Rev. 

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MARMADUKE MERRY, THE MIDSHIP- 

MAN. By W. H. Kingston. With pumerous Illustrations. 
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HARDY, THE HUNTER : a Boy's Own Story. 

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AMONG THE TARTAR TENTS; or, the Lost 

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LONDON : GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS, 

THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE, 



NOVELS AT ONE SHILLING. 
(Postage Zd.) 



By Captain Marryat. 



Peter Simple. 
The King's Own. 
Midshipman Easy. 
Rattlin the Reefer. 
The Pacha of Many 
Tales. 



Newton Forster. 
Jacob Faithful. 
Japhet in Search of 

Father. 
The Dog- Fiend. 
The Poacher. 



The Phantom Ship. 

Percival Keene. 

Valerie. 

Frank Mildmay. 

Olla Podrida. 

Monsieur Violet. 



By J. Fenimore Cooper. 



Mo- 



The Last of the 

hicans. 
The Spy. 
Lionel Lincoln. 
The Deerslayer, 
The Pathfinder. 
The Bravo. 



Agincourt. 

Attila. 

Margaret Graham. 

Delaware. 



The Waterwitch. 

The Two Admirals. 

The Red Rover. 

Satanstoe. 

Afloat and Ashore. 

Wyandotte. 

The Headsman. 

By G. P. R. James. 



Homeward Bound. 
The Sea Lions. 
Precaution. 
Mark's Reef. 
Ued Myers. 
The Heidenmauer. 



Henry of Guise. 
Dark Scenes. 
The Smuggler. 
Rose D'Albret. 



John Marston Hall. 

Beauchamp. 

Arrah Neil. 

My Aunt Pontypool. 



By Alexandre Dumas. 



The Three Musketeers. 

Twenty Years After. 

Doctor Basilius. 

The Twin Captains. 

Captain Paul. 

Memoirs of a Physician. 2 vols. 

The Queen's Necklace. 

The Chevalier de Maison Rouge. 

The Countess de Charny. 



Monte Cristo. 2 vols. 

Nanon ; or, Woman's War. 

The Two Dianas. 

The Black Tulip. 

The Forty-Five Guardsmen. 

Taking the Bastille. 2 vols. 

Chicot the Jester. 

The Conspirators. 

Ascanio. 



By W. H. Ainsworth. 



Windsor Castle. 

Tower of London. 

TheMiser'sDaughter. 

Rookwood. 

Old St. Paul's. 

Crichton. 



Guy Fawlces. 
The Spendthrift. 
James the Second. 
The Star Chamber. 
The Flitch of Bacon. 
Mervyn Clitheroe. 



Lancashire Witches 

Ovingdean Grange. 

St. James's. 

Auriol. 

Jack Sheppard. 



Published by George Routledge and Sons. 



Novels at One Shilling. — Continued. 
By Various Authors. 



Violet the Danseuse. 
The Royal Favourite. Mrs. Gore. 
Joe Wilson's Ghost. Banim. 

Ambassador's Wife. Mrs. Gore. 
The Old Commodore. 

Author of "Rattlinthe Reefer." 
Cinq Mars. De Vigny. 

Ladder of Life. A. B. Edwards. 
My Brother's Keeper. 

Miss Wetherell. 
The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne. 
Respectable Sinners. 
The House of the Seven Gables. 
Hawthorne. 
Whom ta Marry. Mayhrw. 

Henpecked Husband. Lady Scott. 
The Family Feud. Thos. Cooper. 
Nothing but Money. 

T. S. Arthur. 
Letter-Bag of the Great Western. 
Sam Slick. 
Moods. Louisa M. Alcott. 

Singleton Fontenoy. J. Hannay. 
Kindness in Women. 
Mohegan Maiden, and other Tales 
Stories of Waterloo. 



Zingra the Gipsy. 

My Brother's Wife. 

Tom Jones. 

The Duke. 

My Cousin Nicholas. [sion. 

Northanger Abbey, and Persua- 

Land and Sea Tales. 

The Warlock. 

Echoes from the Backwoods. 

Balthazar. Bahac. 

Eugenie Grandet. 

The Vicar of Wakefield. 

The Sparrowgrass Papers. 

A Seaside Sensation. C. Ross. 

A Week with Mossoo. Chas.Ross. 

Miss Tomkins' Intended. 

Arthur Sketchley, 
On the Road. B. Hemyng. 

A Bundle of Crowquills. 
The Hidden Path. 
A Sailor's Adventures. 
The Medical Student. A. Smith. 
Love Tales. G. H-. Kingsley. 

The Backwoods Bride. 
Kent the Ranger. 
Ennui. Edgeivorth. 



BEADLE'S 

Price 6d. each. 



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Alice Wilde. 
The Frontier Angel. 
Malaeska. 
Uncle Ezekiel. 
Massasoit's Daughter. 
Bill Biddon, Trapper. 
Backwoods Bride. 
Sybil Chase. 
Monowano, the Shaw- 
nee Spy. 
Brethren of the Coast. 
King Barnaby. 
The Forest Spy. 
The Far West. 
Riflemen of Miami. 
Alicia Newcombe. 
The Hunter's Cabin. 



The Block House. 

Esther ; or, The Ore- 
gon Trail. 

The Gold Hunters. 

Mabel Meredith. 

The Scout. 

The King's Man. 

Kent the Ranger. 

The Peon Prince. 

Laughing Eyes. 

Mahaska, the Indian 
Queen. 

The Slave Sculptor. 

Myrtle. 

Indian Jem. 

The Wrecker's Bride. 

The Cave Child. 



The Lost Trail. 
Joe Davis's Client. 
The Cuban Heiress. 
The Hunter's Escape. 
The Silver Bugle. 
Pomfret's Ward. 
Quindaro. 
The Rival Scouts. 
On the Plains. 
Star Eyes. 
The Mad Skipper. 
Little Moccasin. 
The Doomed Hunter. 
Eph. Peters. 
The Fugitives. 
Big- Foot the Guide. 



Published by George Routledge and Sons. 



ROUTLEDGE'S SIXPENNY NOVELS. 
(Postage lei.) 



The Watervvitch. 
The Pathfinder. 
The Deerslayer. 
The Last of the Mohi- 
cans. 
The Pilot. 
The Prairie. 
Eve Effingham. 
The Spy. 
The Red Rover. 



By J. F. Cooper. 

Homeward Bound. 
The Two Admirals. 
Miles Wallingford. 
The Pioneers. 
Wyandotte. 
Lionel Lincoln. 
Afloat and Ashore. 
The Bravo. 
The Sea Lions. 
The Headsman. 



Precaution. 
Oak Openings. 
The Heidenmauer. 
Mark's Reef. 
Ned Myers. 
Satanstoe. 
The Borderers. 
Jack Tier. 
Mercedes. 



By Sir Walter Scott. 



Guy Mannering. 

The Antiquary. 

Ivanhoe. 

The Fortunes of Nigel. 

Rob Roy. 

Kenihvorth. 

The Pirate. 



The Monastery. 
Old Mortality. 
Peveril of the Peak. 
The Heart of Midlo- 
thian. 
The Bride of Lam- 



Waverley. 
Quentin Durward. 
St. Ronan's Well. 
The Abbot. 
Legend of Montrose, 

and The Black 

Dwarf. 



Sir Walter Scott's Poetry. 



The Lady of the Lake. 
The Lord of the Isles. 
Marmion. 



The Lay of the Last Minstrel. 
The Bridal of Triermain. 
Rokeby. 



By Various Authors. 



Robinson Crusoe; 
U nele Tom's Cabin. Mrs. Stowe. 
Colleen Bawn. Gerald Griffin. 
The Vicar of Wakefield. 
Sketch Book. Washington Irving. 
Tristram Shandy. Sterne. 

Sentimental Journey. Sterne. 

The English Opium Eater. 

De Qnmcy. 
Essays of Elia. Charles Lamb. 
Roderick Random. Smollett. 

Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. 
Tom Jones. 2 vols. Fielding. 



Artemus Ward, his Book. 

A. Ward among the Mormons. 

The Nasby Papers. 

Major Jack Downing. 

The Biglow Papers. 

Orpheus C. Kerr. 

The Wide, Wide World. 

Queechy. 

The Wolf of Badenoch. 

(Double vol. , is. ) 
Gulliver's Travels. 
The Wandering Jew. (3 vols. ) 
The Mysteries of Paris. (3 vols. ) 






Published by George Routledge and Sons. 




MMOMffOft jrtf//; 



>i?<0 




'■ By a thorough knowledge of the natu- 
i awg which govern the operations of 
d >esti6n and nutrition, and by a careful 
application of the fine properties of well- 
selected cocoa, Mr. Epps has provided our 
I breakfast-tables with a delicately-flavoured 
J beverage which may save us many heavy 
1 doctors' bills." — Civil Service Gazette. 



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The above cocoa is simpl; de by 

putting two tea-spoonfuls ot i ! - powder 
from the packet into a cup, and filling up 
with boiling water or milk. d only 

with water, the addition <;' a spoonful 
of condensed milk will be {bund to equal 
cream in adding to its mellowness. — Epps's 
Cocoa is also prepared with milk, and sold 
in tins labelled "Epps's Milky 



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